Saturday, May 21, 2016

Sign here: Soldiers' graffiti in Fredericksburg, Virginia

Polk D. Norvell of the 2nd Virginia Cavalry made his mark here,  probably in the summer of 1863.
The old Farmers' Bank of Fredericksburg at the intersection of Princess Anne and George streets.
Like this blog on Facebook.

The terrific National Park Service's  Mysteries & Conundrums blog was my guide for finding the names of two Confederate soldiers scrawled on bricks of the former Farmers' Bank of Fredericksburg (Va.). Used as a headquarters and hospital by the Union army during its occupation. the beautiful, early 19th-century building at the corner of Princess Anne and George streets was sold early last year.

During my recent Civil War Power Tour, I stopped to check out for myself the Civil War-era graffiti. It was fairly easy to find amid more recent scrawlings. Kudos to Eric Mink of the NPS, who dug up details on the lives of the soldiers who left their marks -- Polk D. Norvell, a teenager in the 2nd Virginia Cavalry, and Lewis B. Ellis of the 39th Virginia Cavalry. Ellis wrote his name on the George Street side of the building. Norvell, who left his mark on the Princess Anne Street side, did not survive the war, dying in a Richmond hospital in July 1864.

If you are really into Civil War graffiti, check out this post on my blog on Graffiti House near the Brandy Station battlefield.

Look carefully on a brick below the window on George Street to find ...
... the name of Lewis B. Ellis, who served in the 39th Virginia Cavalry..


  1. Shortly after the battle, Lincoln came to Fredericksburg. He stood on the steps of the bank and addressed the crowd. Clara Barton attended wounded amputees in the courthouse across the street and convalescing Union Soldiers were laying outside, along Princess Anne Street. Many Union burials in the yards of houses near by(because of lack of space and the urgency to do something with the decaying corpses. ** Of some historical interest from another period, the bank is blocks away from Kenmore House (home of Fielding Lewis and his wife Betty Washington Lewis(Sister of George Washington), The Rising Sun Tavern home of proprietor Lawrence Washington(Brother of George) and the Home of Mary Ball Washington(Mother of the Father of Our Country, George Washington), and the Home of John Paul Jone3s All sustained damage during the Civil War Battle.

  2. great article and response.