Sunday, January 14, 2018

'Hidden' Fredericksburg: Battle scars at Willis Hill Cemetery

Close-up of  damage, probably from Union artillery, on the stone pillar at Willis Hill Cemetery.
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If you know where to look, traces of the Civil War may be seen throughout Fredericksburg, Va. There's soldiers' graffiti on the brickwork of this building on Princess Anne Street, artillery damage at this church blocks away, and on the stone pillar of infrequently visited Willis Hill Cemetery on Marye's Heights, more scars of war are visible. On Dec. 13, 1862, Union artillerists struck the cemetery and immediate area, knocking down the graveyard's red-brick walls, toppling tombstones and making life hazardous for Confederate medical personnel treating wounded there. At least one Confederate regiment formed near the cemetery before it charged down the Heights to the nearby Sunken Road. Of course, the battle scars at the cemetery today also could be a result of the Second Battle of Fredericksburg, fought in early May 1863. A visit here is well worth your time when you are in Fredericksburg.

For much more on Willis Hill Cemetery, which is adjacent to the national cemetery, check out the interesting The Swale at Mercer Square blog here. The cemetery is private and not open for tours.

Entrance to Willis Hill Cemetery on Marye's Heights. War damage appears on the stone pillar at left.
A National Park Service marker gives a brief history of Willis Hill Cemetery.
       Google Earth: Willis Hill Cemetery (near top left)  is adjacent to national cemetery.

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