Fredericksburg was a a colonial town that was established on The Rappahannock River.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fredericksburg,_Virginia.  It was named after Prince Frederick of England and most of the streets are named for the English royal family.  It was a prosperous colonial town and then The Civil War happened.  Fredericksburg was directly between Washington D.C. and Richmond, Va., almost putting a bull’s eye on its head for control during this horrible Civil War.

As it turned out, Virginia’s decision to secede from the union was done in two votes.  http://collections.richmond.edu/secession/visualizations/vote-maps.html.  Now this is really interesting, because the first vote was not in favor of secession.  For the locals, take a look at the map.  Spotsylania, Stafford, Fredericksburg, and King George were pro union.  Now the vote two weeks later after Fort Sumter, the state of Virginia seceded from the union.

My basic pacifist nature cannot help but comment on this vote.  Just think of how short the Civil War would have been IF Virginia did not secede.  All the famous Virginia generals that might have fought with the North included Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, J.E.B. Stuart, A.P. Hill, Richard Ewell, Joseph E. Johnston, Jubal A. Early, George Pickett,  Fitzhugh Lee,  Lewis A. Armistead.  The war could have been over in less than a year, but went on for four years and more people died in that war than most of the others in our history combined.  And so many bloody battles happened in Virginia.  Just take a look at this map http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:American_Civil_War_Battles_by_Theater,_Year.png

Gives one pause on how delegates to the General Assembly can seal the fate of a million people.

But war did come to Fredericksburg in December, 1862 and it devastated the town.  The bombardment that went on for hours destroyed many homes and businesses.  Most of the locals had fled.  Major looting happened.  Just now as I was writing this, they had cannon fire depicting this event resounding in my neighborhood.  It brings tears to my eyes  so many years hence imagining the horror that went on here.  It was during  the Battle of Fredericksburg that Robert E. Lee uttered his famous quote:  “It is well that war is so terrible – lest we should grow too fond of it.”  How right he was.  A good account of what happened is this link: http://thismightyscourge.com/2009/12/13/battle-of-fredericksburg-ambrose-burnsides-first-foray/.  It is important to read the previous link because it really sums up the horror and the incompetence of General Burnside.

One of my history heroes was Joshua Chamberlain from Maine.  Fredericksburg was his first battle, and the 20th Maine got stuck out in the field around the piles of bodies and they had to cover themselves with dead bodies to get through the night.  In his autobiography, Chamberlain writes a stunning view from the union perspective, since that charge up Marye’s Heights cost so many union lives.  The suffering that occurred that cold winter’s night after the battle was horrendous.

So here we are 150 years later.  There have been fantastic events planned so that the Civil War Buffs and the general population can get a real feeling of what happened here and can remember.  Right this minute, they are marching up through the center of town with church bells ringing and solemn remembrance stops along the way until they get to the stone wall. The Stone wall is where no Union soldier reached during the Battle of Fredericksburg.

The question for me became how was I going to participate in this event?  Stacy and I had attended several Battle reenactments and visited all the local battlefields many times and Gettysburg twice.  Our house is adjacent to Lee Drive, and we could see the trenches from the upper floors of the house.  We were married on Lee’s Hill where Robert E. Lee viewed the battle.  I had lived all these years on hallowed ground, so I needed to participate.  My mobility issues were going to present a problem with not only parking but walking through the town.  And then I also remembered that Orange County reenactment that is so fresh in my mind being a few days before my breast cancer diagnosis in 1996 and I vowed I would never go to another re-enactment.

I had to come up with a compromise I could live with.  Since Stacy’s great-grandfather, James Barrett Southall was part of the 3rd Virginia Cavalry, I decided I would honor him and all the Lloyds by my actions.  James had an Armistead relative in his background, so Stacy was distantly related to that Civil War general as well.  Philip Lloyd, Stacy’s second son, bought him a book about the 3rd Virginia Cavalry and took Stacy to Charles County to visit his heritage.  I just have to quote the last line of his inscription to his dad:  James Barrett Southall, “Is our hero that fought for the ‘Southern Cross’ from 1861 until the Confederacy tired of killing Yankees and let them go home at Appomattox C.H. in April 1965.”

So Friday, I took a picture of James Barrett Southall that was taken in his older age in his Confederate uniform to the  the stone wall, leaving two roses and two flags (only one shown) to remember both the Confederate and Union “Casualties (estimated):Union: 12,600 (killed, wounded or missing/captured) Confederate: 5,300 (killed, wounded or missing/captured)”

photo

Yesterday, I went to the end of Lee’s Drive to get as close to both a historic site and the area where James B. Southall would have been on horseback during the battle of Fredericksburg which was near Hamilton’s Crossing, a railway station.  There I left another rose at the canons along with a copy of a picture of him in his youth.

IMG_0767 IMG_0773JBsouthallJames Barrett Southall

Then I took his picture to the bottom of Lee’s Hill.  IMG_0784

I think Stacy is looking down and saying thank you.  I really did this for him and all the Lloyds including Stacy’s children Paula Jean Lloyd Parker, Scott, Philip, Will Lloyd and Holly Lloyd Saunders, and Stacy’s 13 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.  It is a proud heritage.  To get to Lee Drive from our house, how fitting is it to drive down Lloyd Lane straight to Lee Drive.

What happened here 150 years ago needs to be remembered for all the brave souls that fought, were wounded, and died here.  There are still thousands of  Yankees buried on Marye’s Heights from all the areas’ wars and every Memorial Day there is a light placed by every grave.  Most of the graves are unknowns.  In other words, boys and men left their homes never to return, and their families had no idea where they ended up.

photo 3

(Picture on ask.com)

Please watch the video that lasts only 3 minutes.  It tells the story of the luminaries and you can listen to Taps which is an end to this remembrance where this “soulful music” is better than words.

http://m.video.pbs.org/video/1960216452/

You can also go to Fredericksburg.com for The Free Lance Star’s Coverage of all the events.

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