Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member La de Boheme
N 38° 18.545 W 077° 27.262
18S E 285405 N 4242959
Quick Description: Chatham, a plantation overlooking the Rappahannock River, served as Union headquarters and was visited by Abraham Lincoln, Clara Barton, and Walt Whitman.
Location: Virginia, United States
Date Posted: 8/11/2009 4:36:01 PM
Waymark Code: WM6ZYJ
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
Views: 5

Long Description:
Chatham was built in 1771 by William Fitzhugh who sold the house to Major Churchill Jones in 1806. At the start of the Civil War, James Lacy, who had married Jones's niece, was the owner. He left to serve as an officer with the Confederate army while his wife and children remained at Chatham.

In 1862, Union forces arrived and the Lacy family abandoned the estate and moved across the river. The house was set up as headquarters by General Irvin McDowell who supervised the repair of RF&P Railroad (see Potomac Creek BridgeClick for related waymark and Aquia LandingClick for related waymark) and the building of bridges across the Rappahannock River. President Lincoln visited Chatham for a conference with McDowell during this time.

Seven months after Lincoln's visit, fighting broke out in Fredericksburg. General Ambrose Burnside and his Union troops used pontoon bridges to cross the river at Chatham into Fredericksburg and launch attacks against the Confederate army. The Battle of FredericksburgClick for related waymark was a bloody defeat for Burnside's army.

Thousands of soldiers were killed and wounded. Chatham was turned into a hospital and Clara Barton assisted the doctors. Walt Whitman visited the wounded and wrote letters home for them. 130 soldiers died at Chatham and were buried on the grounds. They were eventually moved to the Fredericksburg National CemeteryClick for related waymark except for 3 which were discovered later. Their graves still remain at Chatham marked by flush granite stones.

At the end of the Civil War, the damage to Chatham was devastating. The Lacys returned home, but could not restore it and sold it.

The National Park Service took over the operation and restoration in 1975.

Today, Chatham is open daily to the public. Visitors are free to roam the house, which now serves as a visitors center and museum, and surrounding grounds and gardens. There are several displays including a pontoon bridge.

Type of site: Historic Home

120 Chatham Lane
Fredericksburg, VA USA

Phone Number: 540-373-6122 or 540-786-2880

Admission Charged: No Charge

Website: [Web Link]

Driving Directions:
Chatham Manor is located at 120 Chatham Lane across the Rappahannock River from Fredericksburg. To reach Chatham from I-95, take exit 130 east toward Fredericksburg. Proceed approximately one mile. Turn left at a traffic light on William Street where the road adds to extra left turn lanes. Proceed through downtown Fredericksburg and across the Rappahannock River. Turn left at the first traffic light after crossing the river. Be in the left lane to almost immediately turn left again on Chatham Lane.

Visit Instructions:
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Recent Visits/Logs:
Date Logged Log User Rating  
Team 57 visited Chatham 3/25/2012 Team 57 visited it