The City of Fredericksburg, Virginia, has a significant history in America relating back through Colonial times, the Revolutionary War, and the Civil War. Many Colonial patriots visited or lived in the area, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Fitzhugh, and Fielding Lewis.
The Fredericksburg area is the bloodiest land in the United States, the result of four major Civil War battles, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Wilderness, and Spotsylvania Court House. As we approach our Emerging Civil War Symposium, I wanted to point out two historic sites that reflect those histories – Kenmore and Ferry Farm – both owned by the George Washington Foundation.
Ferry Farm was the boyhood home of George Washington from the age of six until manhood. The stories of him chopping down a cherry tree and throwing a quarter across the Rappahannock River would have occurred on this farm in Stafford County, Virginia. In the Civil War, during the Battle of Fredericksburg on December 13, 1862, General Daniel Butterfield’s Fifth Corps was stationed here before going into Fredericksburg.
Historic Kenmore was the plantation home of Fielding Lewis and his wife, Betty Washington Lewis – the sister of George Washington. Fielding served as chairman of the commission to build a gun factory in Fredericksburg, to furnish weapons for the Virginia militia in the Revolutionary War. After the Civil War Battle of Fredericksburg, Kenmore was incorporated into a fortification line to cover the Union retreat from Fredericksburg. During and after the battles of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House, Kenmore was a Union hospital and a burial ground for 103 Union soldiers.
While in Fredericksburg, please take the time to visit Historic Kenmore and Ferry Farm. At the Kenmore visitor center, your tour will start in the gallery at the center, where a guide will start your tour, then take you inside the beautiful Georgian manor. The Ferry Farm visitor center, has displays of colonial and Civil War artifacts. A guide will then take you to the Washington House, where you can view this recently rebuilt replica of the George Washington home, on the site of his original home. Visit the George Washington Foundation website at www.kenmore.org for the hours of operation and more information.