Chatham Exit Road Closed 9/2-9/5
The Chatham exit road will be closed from September 2-5, 2014 as part of the project to restore the historic viewshed from Chatham Manor. The road will be closed at all times. Please use the Chatham entrance road as a two-way road. More »
Sunken Road Walking Tour
Below is the text for the Sunken Road walking trail folder. Call the visitor center (540 373-6122 to see if guided walking tours along the Sunken Road will be given on the day of your visit. A corresponding map is available at the Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center.
The Battle of Fredericksburg, fought on December 13, 1862, marked another unsuccessful attempt by the Union army to move south against the Confederate capital at Richmond. This failure stands out among other such setbacks because of the overwhelming nature of the Federal defeat. Here, along the Sunken Road, Robert E. Lee earned his most one-sided military victory. In addition to its strategic significance, the fighting along the Sunken Road left a legacy of steadfast bravery, tragic irony and human compassion involving soldiers, officers and civilians. This guide will lead you six blocks on a 30-minute round trip walk across hallowed ground consecrated more than 120 years ago by the blood of Americans at war against themselves. Begin your tour behind the Visitor Center at the large battlefield painting. Interpretive signs, painting, monuments and recorded messages along the path will help you understand what happened here. Please be aware of traffic while crossing streets and standing along Sunken Road. Use caution while walking on uneven surfaces and keep children under close control near parking lots and roadways.
Tour Stop #1: Battle Painting
Tour Stop #2: The Sunken Road and the Stone Wall
Tour Stop #3: Stevens' House Area
Cobb's body now rests in his native Georgia while Mrs. Stevens, who died in 1888, is buried inside the picket fence behind her house site. The Cobb Monument across the road is one of the oldest in the park, being erected during Martha Stevens' lifetime. The United Daughters of the Confederacy installed the little granite marker beside you in 1917. [See Don Pfanz's article on Martha Stevens]
Tour Stop #4: Innis House and Federals Attacks
Tour Stop #5: Original Stone Wall and Confederate Position
Tour Stop #6: The Kirkland Monument Although the Union army met utter defeat at the Sunken Road on December 13th, they remained on the battlefield crouched in their forward positions along the Stratton House ravine or hidden in the buildings of town. The open plain, carpeted blue with fallen Federals, rang out with the pitiful cries of the wounded. Nineteen-year-old Sergeant Richard Kirkland of the 2nd South Carolina could tolerate the agonizing pleading no longer. He received permission to scale the wall and bring relief to his suffering enemies at peril to his own life. Union riflemen ceased firing as Kirkland moved from soldier to soldier on his errand of mercy.
Felix DeWeldon, who also produced the famous Iwo Jima Memorial near Washington, crafted this monument with painstaking accuracy.
Did You Know?
The park maintains a summer internship program. The program allows college students to work behind the information desk, as well as give tours of the battlefields and historic structures.