Past is Prologue

Clint Schemmer writes about history, heritage preservation and the American Civil War.  On Facebook: Past is Prologue  On Twitter: @prologuepast  ContactEmail Clint or call 540/374-5424.

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Fredericksburg 150th programs continue through Sunday

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It was at Belvoir that Confederate Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson spent the last happy week of his life, with his wife, Anna, and their 5-month-old daughter Julia. The plantation house is gone, but its site and 10 surrounding acres in Spotsylvania County have been preserved. (NATIONAL PARK SERVICE)

Regional events and programs commemorating the Battle of Fredericksburg, fought 150 years ago on Dec. 11–15, 1862, conclude this weekend with National Park Service tours of rarely seen sites and a book signing for the new edition of Fredericksburg History and Biography:


“Aftermath” tours by historians with Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park:

10 a.m.–noon: “Lee and Jackson at Belvoir.” A rare chance to visit Belvoir—a major Confederate field hospital where Gen. Maxcy Gregg died. Later, Jackson hosted his wife and child here. Meet NPS historians Frank O’Reilly and John Hennessy in parking lot at Lee Hill Elementary School, 3600 Lee Hill School Drive. Access courtesy Crossroads Associates LLC.

1–2:30 p.m.: “Yankees Coming and Going: Franklin’s Crossing.” One of the war’s most-photographed sites, the Lower Pontoon Crossing in Spotsylvania County, is today obscured and rarely visited. Half the defeated Union army retreated across bridges here. Join historians Frank O’Reilly and Eric Mink at 1 Joseph Mills Drive.

3:30–5 p.m.: “City of Hospitals.” One writer called it a “city of death,”but amid the carnage came heroic efforts to save lives. Park chief historian John Hennessy will explore a town turned into a vast assemblage of hospitals. Meet at Market Square, behind Old Town Hall and Fredericksburg Area Museum.


1–4 p.m.: Book signing to benefit Central Virginia Battlefields Trust. Volume 11 of Central Virginia Battlefield Trust’s journal, Fredericksburg History and Biography, has just been published. The publication will be available for purchase at Eileen’s Bakery and Café, 1115 Caroline St., in Fredericksburg. The authors will sign copies, and back issues will be available. Sales benefit battlefield preservation.