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Settled in 1788, Fredericksburg’s location, at the head of Virginia’s Rappahannock River, made it a prosperous trading port. It was for this reason that the city was important to both armies during the American Civil War. During the war, Fredericksburg bounced back and forth between being held by the Confederate and Union armies. Some of the bloodiest battles were fought directly in the town and outlying areas: Chancellorsville, Spotsylvania and the Wilderness, now the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. George Washington was born at Ferry Farm near Fredericksburg and the city is where General Robert E. Lee met and ...

Settled in 1788, Fredericksburg’s location, at the head of Virginia’s Rappahannock River, made it a prosperous trading port. It was for this reason that the city was important to both armies during the American Civil War. During the war, Fredericksburg bounced back and forth between being held by the Confederate and Union armies. Some of the bloodiest battles were fought directly in the town and outlying areas: Chancellorsville, Spotsylvania and the Wilderness, now the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. George Washington was born at Ferry Farm near Fredericksburg and the city is where General Robert E. Lee met and courted his wife. The best place to start a walk around town is at the Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center in Market Square. Housed in the old town hall are six galleries with arts and crafts exhibits and artifacts that tell the history of the area. Today, 350 buildings make up Fredericksburg’s National Historic District. Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop exhibits medicinal cures of the 18th century, you can raise a glass at the Rising Sun Tavern, built in 1760, or admire the displays of Louis XVI furniture at the James Monroe Museum. Another must stop is Kenmore Plantation and Gardens. The English and American furniture contained in this late 17th century house are authentic 18th century pieces. The home belonged to Elizabeth Washington Lewis, sister of George Washington. On its grounds is the Mary Washington House, which Washington bought for his mother in 1772. Some of her furnishings are still in the house.

Frances Folsom
About the Expert

Frances Folsom is the author of CitySpot Palermo, a contributor to the Reiskits guides to Milan and Italy's Lakes Region, and Thomas Cook's Independent Traveller USA.

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