Wednesday, April 09, 2014

For sale: Fredericksburg house with Civil War graffiti

 TODAY: The town house painted blue at 136 Caroline Street in Fredericksburg, Va., is for sale.
Looking to upgrade to a house with a lot more room, perhaps something with a little Southern charm and a lot of history to it? And you absolutely need something in a really terrific neighborhood, right? We may have just the place for you. Of course, one of the negatives to the town house at 136 Caroline Street in Fredericksburg, Va., is that it was a MAJOR fixer-upper after it was heavily damaged by the Union army, most likely by artillery fire, in December 1862.

MAY 1864: 136-138 Caroline Street duplex shows damage from December 1862 fighting.
(James Gardner/Library of Congress collection)
Cropped enlargement of  May 1864 image shows broken steps and windows at 136 Caroline Street.
A cropped enlargement of the 138 Caroline Street duplex shows damage to the siding and 
brickwork,  presumably caused during December 1862 fighting.
When the bulk of the Federal army crossed the Rappahannock River on Dec. 12, 1862 to fight the Battle of Fredericksburg, Yankees ran amok, pillaging the town that once was the boyhood home to George Washington.

"Very soon the streets were filled with a motley crowd of men,” wrote Lieutenant Josiah Favill of the 57th New York, “some of them dressed in women's clothes, others with tall silk hats, curiously conspicuous where nothing but caps are worn; many brought out sofas, chairs, etc., which were planted in the middle of the street, and the men proceeded to take their ease. Some carried pictures; one man had a fine stuffed alligator, and most of them had something.” The 136-38 Caroline Street residences were probably ransacked too. (The Union army, by the way, suffered a disastrous defeat at Fredericksburg the next day.)

The Sentry Box on Caroline Street also suffered damage during the Civil War. 
... but let's not dwell too much on the past, OK? You want a house that has some charm in a tony neighborhood. Across the street from 136 Caroline is an historic house known as "The Sentry Box." A private residence today, the former home of Revolutionary War General George Weedon has been described as an "elegant specimen of late Georgian style architecture." Weedon once was mayor of Fredericksburg. This house, which also suffered significant war damage, has a ton of Civil War history to it, too. (There we go again, dwelling on the past.) The Union army crossed the Rappahannock River on a pontoon bridge near "The Sentry Box" and bodies of soldiers were buried on the property. (Don't worry; they've been removed.)

Views of Rocky Lane, the route many Union troops took into Fredericksburg after
 crossing the  Rappahannock River on a pontoon bridge in December 1862.
Need a bigger-picture look at the neighborhood? Here's how many Yankees got into Fredericksburg in the winter of 1862. Confederate sharpshooters made their journey quite hazardous. Rocky Lane is a stone's throw or two down the street from 136 Caroline Street. ...

... and here's where the Yankees crossed the Rappahannock on their way to wrecking the neighborhood. Click on the image to see their route up Rocky Lane.

Still not sure? Take the interactive tour to check out the rest of this spectacular, historic neighborhood. ...

A sun room, dual zoned heating and air conditioning...and Civil War graffiti. 
What more could you want?
... So what do you think? You want space -- this town house plenty of it. Four bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths and 3,000-plus feet. It's close to shops, restaurants and the commuter train. And history? It was built before the Civil War. That old battle damage? Long gone. But apparently there's still a terrific reminder of the past at 136 Caroline Street. As this real estate handout notes, "graffiti from Civil War soldiers can be viewed in multiple rooms." Sweet! This place can be all yours for $619,900 or perhaps less. (Hat tip to John Cummings of Spotsylvania Civil War blog for pointing out that the town house was for sale.)

UPDATE: As of May 17, 2014, the house remains for sale. Asking price: $597,000

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful tour, as always - love the house and the neighborhood. Now would love to have the money.