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Fredericksburg was George Washington's boyhood home, his mother's last home and the home of his sister, Betty Washington Lewis. James Monroe set up his first law office in the city in 1786.

Between 1861 and 1865 Fredericksburg was an armed camp and the scene of violent battles. By the end of the Civil War it was desolate, its houses torn by shot and shell and the dead buried in its streets.

The Battle of Fredericksburg was fought on Dec. 13, 1862. The Union Army of 142,551 under Gen. Ambrose Everett Burnside camped on Stafford Heights on the north side of the river. The Confederate force of 91,760 under Gen. Robert E. Lee was entrenched west and south of the town.

The Union troops made repeated unsuccessful attacks on the Confederate fortifications, resulting in Burnside's retreat across the river. On the Union side the dead and wounded numbered 12,653; Confederate casualties totaled 5,309.

After the Battle of Chancellorsville the city served as a hospital for the Confederate wounded; it provided a similar service for the Union forces after the Battle of the Wilderness. The Gothic Revival Fredericksburg Courthouse, erected 1851-52, is still in use today. Its historic documents include the will of Mary Washington. The bell was made by the Paul Revere foundry.

From Fredericksburg SR 3 leads down the historic Northern Neck past such sites as George Washington Birthplace National Monument, Robert E. Lee's birthplace at Stratford and George Washington's mother's birthplace near Lancaster.

Another historic, scenic route is US 17, which follows the Rappahannock River to Tappahannock and Gloucester, crosses the York River to Yorktown and the Colonial Parkway, and continues to Williamsburg.

Visitor Centers

Fredericksburg Visitor Center 706 Caroline St. Fredericksburg, VA 22401. Phone:(540)373-1776 or (800)678-4748

Self-guiding Tours

Brochures and maps outlining self-guiding tours of historic Fredericksburg and the area are available from the visitor center, where a 14-minute orientation film is shown. Brochures, maps and area information also are available at the Spotsylvania County Visitor Center, 4704 Southpoint Pkwy.; phone (800) 678-4748 or (800) 654-4118.


Old Town Fredericksburg boasts an array of boutiques, restaurants, art galleries and antiques dealers. At I-95 and SR 3, you'll find the Spotsylvania Mall (137 Spotsylvania Mall Dr.), which offers more than 100 shops, including Belk, JCPenney and Macy's. Across the street from the mall is Central Park (1541 Carl D. Silver Pkwy.), a massive open-air shopping center with restaurants, a movie theater, a handful of specialty stores and such recognizable names as Kirkland's, Kohl's, Lane Bryant, Old Navy, Talbots and Ulta.

Insider Info

Combination Tickets

The Timeless Ticket to Historic Fredericksburg has no expiration date and includes admission to Fredericksburg area battlefields, the Fredericksburg Area Museum, George Washington's Boyhood Home at Ferry Farm, Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop, James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library, Kenmore Plantation & Gardens, Mary Washington House, Rising Sun Tavern and The Gari Melchers Home and Studio at Belmont (in Falmouth). The combined admission is $32; free (ages 6-18 with paying adult, limit one per adult; each additional child ages 6-18 is $10).

Another discount option, the Day Pass is valid for a 24-hour period and includes all of the attractions listed above for a combined admission of $16; free (ages 6-18 with paying adult, limit one per adult; each additional child ages 6-18 is $5).

Passes are available at the Fredericksburg or Spotsylvania visitor centers. Phone (800) 678-4748 or (800) 654-4118.

Note: It is a good idea to verify hours and admission fees in advance.

Things to Do

Children's Museum of Richmond-Fredericksburg

Fredericksburg Area Museum

George Washington's Boyhood Home at Ferry Farm

Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop

James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library

Kenmore Plantation & Gardens

Mary Washington House

Mary Washington Monument and Grave

Rising Sun Tavern

St. George's Episcopal Church

Trolley Tours of Fredericksburg

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