July 14, 2016 by Jamie
Today we planned to go to Downtown Fredericksburg. Wow, what a place. It is very much the stereotypical southern town you read about in the history books. It seemed as though not much had changed over the last 100 years or more. The buildings were either brick or painted clapperboard.
The first place we went to was the visitors centre where we were able to take a guided tour on a horse and cart. The horses name was Patricia and she really seemed to know well what she should do.
During the tour we went past many historical places such as Hugh Mercers Apothecary Shop, the Rising Sun Tavern, the James Monroe Museum, the Mary Washington House, Kenmore, the Confederates cemetery and Chatham house.
The guide pointed out to us a stone on the corner of a street. It looked out of place. The stone was used for the trade of slaves. There were holes in the side of the stone which were there to secure the shackles. It was quite shocking to see how little respect people showed for this to allow their children to climb and sit on the stone using the plaque as a footrest.
Following the tour we had lunch and then walked across the Chatham bridge across the Rappahannock River to find the Chatham house. The original bridge was paid for by the very wealthy Lacy family who owned Chatham house before and during the civil war period. Before the battle of Fredericksburg the confederates burned down all the bridges stopping the union advance.
Once we arrived at the Chatham house we discovered that is was a plantation for wheat and corn. Before and during the civil war period, the estate used about 100 slaves to maintain the plantation and house. There were scenes of mutiny amongst the slaves which resulted in them being sold on to plantations further south. Chatham house was owned by the Lacy family. The lord of the house joined the confederate army once the war began. Lady Lacy tried to manage the house but fled once the Union troops started advancing. The union then took over the house and used it as a headquarters for most of the war. The house was also used as a hospital for the wounded and dying.
Chatham house is one of the few locations visited by both President George Washington and later President Abraham Lincoln.
The picture you see above of the knarled tree trunk is of an actual tree that has been in the ground since before the civil war.
Also nestled in the grounds is their very own famous personality….the actual pontoon bridge used in the film, Gods and Generals.
Following this amazing visit, we were all in need of a drink. Walking back into town we found a place that the tour guide had told us about called Goolricks. This amazing little place is quite unique as it has two purposes, one as a diner/cafe and the other as a pharmacy…..strange combination but who are we to question it. All we know is that they do an amazing coke float!!
After such a long day we headed for the bus back to the hotel. We decided to stop at Wegmans for some tea. Interesting place is Wegmans, it is a supermarket combined with a self serve food court with a seafood bar. The seafood bar is where tonight’s meal was and oh boy, was it good !!!
And so comes to the end of the day…. well sort of. We headed on down to the Expo centre to pick up our badges etc for Historicon. We picked up our Historicon figures and brochures and headed back to hotel. So, that’s all for now folks, come back tomorrow for the next thrilling installment 🙂