It was time to head back to Beez Neez, we ate a hearty breakfast, bade our farewells to Bob, Joan and Kathy, our hosts at Woodward House B+B, Front Royal and headed for Deltaville. Forty nine miles south of Washington D.C., we began to see signs that indicated we were entering an important area, central to some of the major battles of the Civil War. We stopped in the town of Fredericksburg, parked next to the Tourist Information Centre; where three ladies welcomed us. After chatting about the area, we watched a film about the towns history, then set off on a bimble.
Located near where the Rappahannock River crosses the Fall Line, Fredericksburg developed, as the frontier of colonial Virginia shifted west out of the coastal plain. The land on which the city was founded was part of a tract patented in 1671. The Virginia General Assembly established a fort on the Rappahannock in 1676, just below the present-day city. In 1714, Lt. Gov. Alexander Spotswood sponsored a German settlement called Germanna on the Rapidan River, a tributary of the Rappahannock upstream from the future site of the city and led an expedition westward over the Blue Ridge Mountains in 1716.
As interest in the frontier grew, the colonial assembly responded by forming a new county named Spotsylvania (after the governor) in 1720 and establishing Fredericksburg in 1728 as a port for the county, of which it was then a part. Named for Frederick, Prince of Wales, son of King George II, the colonial town's streets bore the names of members of the royal family. The county court was moved to Fredericksburg in 1732, and the town served as county seat until 1780, when the courthouse was moved closer to the county centre. Fredericksburg was incorporated as a town, with its own court, council and mayor in 1781. It received its charter as an independent city in 1879. The city adopted its present city manager/council form of government in 1911.
The city has close associations with George Washington, whose family moved to Ferry Farm in Stafford County just off the Rappahannock River opposite Fredericksburg in 1738. Washington's mother Mary Ball later moved to the city and his sister Betty lived at Kenmore, a plantation house nearby. Other significant early residents include the Revolutionary War generals Hugh Mercer and George Weedon, naval war hero John Paul Jones, and future U.S. president James Monroe. Thomas Jefferson wrote the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom in Fredericksburg. The Presbyterian Church.
The station and what we think is a fancy signal box or some such
The city's development and success was based on other significant residents, enslaved Africans with varied skills, who were critical to its growth. "Slaves worked on plantations, on the docks, in iron industries, mining and quarries, mercantile businesses, construction, domestic services, and others were skilled blacksmiths, coopers, cobblers and draymen. African Americans were vital in the development of the area."
During the 19th century, Fredericksburg sought to maintain its sphere of trade but with limited success. It promoted the development of a canal on the Rappahannock and construction of a turnpike and plank road to bind the interior country to the market town. By 1837, a north-south railroad, which became the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad, linked the town to Richmond, the state capital. A much-needed railroad joining the town to the farming region to the west was not finished until after the Civil War.
Fredericksburg, Virginia, March 1863. View from across the Rappahannock River. To the right is the steeple of the Baptist Church and toward the center is the tower of St. George's Church.
“I have seen many towns........ vieing with each other as specimens of the effects of war’s handiwork,” wrote an English correspondent, “but it seems to me that if any spot on earth can fitly represent the abomination of desolation that spot is Fredericksburg..............”
During the Civil War, Fredericksburg gained strategic importance due to its location midway between Washington and Richmond, the opposing capitals of the Union and the Confederacy. During the Battle of Fredericksburg, 11th to the 15th of December 1862, the town sustained significant damage from bombardment and looting by the Union forces. A Second Battle of Fredericksburg was fought in and around the town on the 3rd of May 1863, in connection with the Chancellorsville campaign (27th of April 1863 – 6th of May 1863). The battles of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House were fought nearby in May 1864.
The information boards and Civil War memorabilia were very interesting
After the war, Fredericksburg recovered its former position as a center of local trade and slowly grew beyond its prewar boundaries. The University of Mary Washington was founded there in 1908 as the State Normal and Industrial School for Women. Adopting the name of Mary Washington College in 1938, the college was for many years associated with the University of Virginia as a women's liberal arts college. The college became independent of UVA and began to accept men in 1970. Recently, the college changed names from Mary Washington College to the University of Mary Washington. A separate campus for graduate and professional studies is located in suburban Stafford County.
The power chord of modern guitar was first developed by Link Wray in Fredericksburg in 1958 during his first improvisation of the instrumental piece "Rumble", a single released by Wray & His Ray Men. The local music scene includes a wide variety of genres.
We have never seen a sign quite like this before - a grim reminder of the cost of war
On the road heading out of town we saw many ‘cute’ little houses and passed the sign for Middlesex School
We even found a ‘One Careful Owner’ – just
As we neared our turning for Deltaville it was funny to see Kilmarnock and Gloucester
ALL IN ALL TIME TO GO HOME TO BEEZ NEEZ