Battle of Spotsylvania
The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House is a continuation of the Battle of the Wilderness. General Grant's decision to move forward to Spotsylvania changed the course of the war. For the first time in the Eastern Theatre, the Army of the Potomac went forward after a battle and maintained control of the initiative for the rest of the war. If viewed as one campaign, the Wilderness/Spotsylvania Campaign is the bloodiest in American history.
Directions: We encourage visitors to Spotsylvania Battlefield to start at a park visitor center at Fredericksburg or Chancellorsville to obtain directions, maps, etc. There is no visitor center at Spotsylvania. The entrance to Spotsylvania Battlefield is on Route 613 (Brock Road) about two miles northwest of the town of Spotsylvania Court House. Since the fighting at Spotsylvania is a continuation of the Battle of the Wilderness, most people approach Spotsylvania from the last tour stop on the Wilderness Battlefield. From the intersection of the Orange Plank Road with the Brock Road, turn right (southeast) on the Brock Road (Route 613) and proceed about seven miles. Turn left into the battlefield as indicated by the sign. You will quickly come to an open air shelter of exhibits. The address of the exhibit shelter is 9550 West Grant Drive, Spotsylvania, Va. 22553.
Hours: The battlefield is open daily from sunrise to sunset. There is no visitor center at Spotsylvania. On-site information is provided, however, at an exhibit shelter at the entrance to the battlefield. Typically, a park historian is stationed at the shelter only when summer hours are in effect. At other times of the year, park historians at the visitor centers at Fredericksburg or Chancellorsville can orient visitors to the Spotsylvania battlefield and explain the fighting there, supplementing information presented on the signs, exhibits, and brochures in the shelter and on the battlefield.
Summary of Campaign: To learn more about the Wilderness/Spotsylvania Campaign click here.
Maps of the battlefield: The bookstores at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville sell a superb set of 24 detailed troop movement maps of the battlefield. The maps can be ordered by mail by calling (540) 372-3034. There are several battle maps online. Click here for a May 10, 1864 map and here for a May 12 map.
Walking tour Brochures: Spotsylvania has a seven mile system of loop trails. Click here for information on the entire trail system and here for a map. The Bloody Angle loop is the most walked area of the battlefield. Click here for information on the Bloody Angle trail.
Guided Walking Tours: Historians lead 45 minute guided walking tours on weekends holidays only starting at the Bloody Angle at 1:00 and 4:00.
Virtual Tour of Spotsylvania Battlefield: Click here for a virtual tour including photos and a descriptive tour of the battlefield.
Photos of Spotsylvania Battlefield: Click here.
Photos of Spotsylvania Monuments: Click here.
Todd's Tavern: On May 7, 1864, the Confederate cavalry delayed the Union advance to Spotsylvania just barely enough for the Confederate infantry to win the race to the vital crossroads at Spotsylvania. Click here to read a brochure about this cavalry action and tour the battlefield.
Did You Know?
In 2003, a monument to the 7th Michigan Infantry was placed where that unit crossed the Rappahannock River into the streets of Fredericksburg. It was the first Union regiment to cross the river during the Battle of Fredericksburg.The monument is on Sophia Street at the foot of Hawke Street.