Fredericksburg Virginia’s Chatham Manor
This is Part Two of a Three Part Series about travel in the Washington, D. C. area. Today’s post is about Fredericksburg, Virginia. #travel
Fredericksburg is rich in history and I wanted to take advantage of it during my recent visit. If you have never been to Chatham Manor and you are a history buff, or you have an interest in architecture and beautiful gardens then you need to go to Chatham Manor.
It was a cold and very wet day the day we visited, so there were no lines or crowded parking lot to contend with. In fact, there was only one other visitor while we were there so we had the complete and undivided attention of our tour guide, Randy. Anyone who has traveled knows that having a good tour guide can make all the difference in how much you learn and enjoy your visit. Randy was so knowledgeable and pleasant that I could have stayed all day and talked history with him. My son and his girlfriend might have left me after a few hours though, so I didn’t.
If you go to Chatham Manor I highly recommend asking for Randy as a guide and having at least one to two hours to visit. The tour is free but donations to the upkeep of the manor are appreciated.
This is me standing in front of the manor looking very touristy with my pamphlets in hand. It poured rain and this was in February so it was quiet cool. This was once the back of the house but is now the front. The history of Chatham is fascinating. It was built during the years of 1768-1771 by a wealthy man named William Fitzhugh.
This is the view from the front of the house when it was built. It overlooks the Rappahannock River and the city in the distance is Fredericksburg. If you look closely you can see two church steeples. Both churches were there during the Civil War and except for the houses and cars, the skyline and view looks much like it did back then.
Randy can tell you all about the Battle of Fredericksburg and the Union Army’s occupation of Chatham. Be sure and ask him for all the details!
The Yankees occupied the manor during the war and used Chatham first as their army headquarters and then later as a hospital. During the Battle of Fredericksburg one of the bedrooms was used by Yankee surgeons. The amputated limbs were thrown out the bedroom window into a pile. Standing in the room where such horror took place was more than a little creepy.
The estate was originally over 1,200 acres and was maintained by slave labor prior to the Civil War. After the war the manor was in terrible shape. It was purchased and restored and so were the gardens.
Hopefully I will be able to go back in warm weather to see what the gardens look like in bloom.
Reluctantly I left Chatham and followed my son and his girlfriend back to the car. Like I said earlier, I could have stayed and listened to Randy talk about Chatham all day.
I’m giving you only a small snippet of the history of the manor. To read more visit Chatham’s website.