Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County Battlefields

9/24/14 Wednesday in Colonial Beach,VA (Harbor View Campground-TT/OW)

After our usual morning routine we got packed up and moved Miss Zanzibar to that better site with satellite TV reception. It went smoothly, no scraping against trees. John came up with a great plan. We could take care of three desires at once. Drive to the Walmart in Fredericksburg where we’ll meet Leila and US Tours. That way we can know for sure where it is and how long it would take to get there. Then we’ll visit the National Parks Battlefields. Because Fredericksburg is directly between the headquarters of the Union (Washington DC) and the headquarters of the Confederacy (Richmond,VA) LOTS of battles happened there. After that visit could stop at Costco for items we needed, then at the Walmart for our grocery items. All in a place over 30 miles from our campground.

Battlefield in Fredricksburg: Over 7 civil war battles were fought here, largely because it sits right between the capitals of each side: Washington DC (Union) and Richmond VA (Confederate).

battle 1

Because the Confederates had better defenses (the hill for cannons, the sunken road with it’s walls for protection and the Rappahonnock River), they won this battle. Unfortunately, the Union army devastated the town of Fredricksburg when it temporarily captured it. This Confederate victory dealt a painful blow to the Union war effort-discouraging Union soldiers and intensifying public debate about the war and the wisdom of emancipation. For the Confederates it established Lee and his army as their greatest hope.

battle 1a battle 2 battle 3 battle 4 battle 5

Battlefield at Chancelorville: here Robert E Lee won his most stunning victory but lost his legendary subordinate, Stonewall Jackson to “friendly fire”.

chance 1 chance 2 chance 4 chance 5

Battlefield at Wilderness and Spotsylvania: The first clash between Grant and Lee since Gettysburg began 11 months of nearly continuous combat that decided the war in Virginia. Grant instructed Meade “Wherever Lee goes, there you will do also.” Their first collision was in the Wilderness, a forest thick with thickets and trees. It ended in a stalemate but Grant headed south, toward Spotsyvania and Richmond. Both armies met there since it was the most direct route to Richmond. Grant concentrated on a weak area in Lee’s line but Lee bought enough time to built a new line of earthworks, which he was able to hold. But it exacted on high price on Confederate resources.

spot 1 spot 2 spot 3

The fighting continued on in an “Overland Campaign” until the end at Appomattox.

The predicted rain started up as we headed home, so that was nice timing. Got home, put our groceries away, then had supper after John watched his “Emergency” show.

Got ready for our trip tomorrow: prepared chili ingredients to roast in the slow cooker all day, packed lunches and even figured out our clothes. We need to leave here before 6:45 am!


About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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