The War Between the States. The War of Northern Aggression. The Civil War…whatever you wish to call it, there’s no denying that those five years in the mid nineteenth represented one of the darkest times in our nation’s history. More than a century later, the turmoil of brothers pitted against brothers, and a people’s desire for freedom, continues to hold a fascination for some. Books and films about this time remain popular, and vacations are planned around Civil War sightseeing. Nowhere better can one absorb the experience of this bygone era than in Stafford County.
The next time you plan an historical tour for your vacation, consider making a few detours at these Stafford County attractions on the way to Gettysburg or Washington, DC:
If you think of the Civil War and sea battles, the Monitor and Merrimac most likely come to mind. However, Union gunboats were also active fighting Rebel forces along the creek beds of Aquia Landing. Here is where the first torpedos of the war were used, too. Aquia Landing is now a popular county park, open from Memorial Day to Labor Day with many landmarks to pinpoint pivotal battles of the war.
Cornstalks and Beanpoles Bridge
Though the original bridge built in 1862 no longer exists, you can still see its stone foundation where Union engineers had to quickly build a connection over Potomac Creek. The bridge gets is name from President Lincoln, who compared the original bridge to “beanpoles and cornstalks,” given the hurriedness with which the bridge was contructed. The bridge is located near some of the Civil War trails found in Stafford.
Hartwood Presbyterian Church
This red brick church is included on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places. At this site the Confederate army enjoyed a victory over Union troops in 1863, capturing over 150 men. The church was utilized as a post by both sides during the war.
This stately home once served as Union headquarters. It was here where Clara Barton tended to wounded soldiers, and Walt Whitman gave his time to the cause. Chatham is purporteded the only private residence to have been visited by George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Today, this mansion is perfectly preserved to welcome visitors interested in its storied history.
George Washington’s Ferry Farm
While the Ferry Farm is a place rich with Washingtonian history, as the president spent a number of formative years here, there exists some Civil War history that one can learn. Guests can view the wildlife currently in residence and learn more about the nation’s early history and how Washington grew to become an important figure in these times, as well as the conditions of the Civil War as lived in this area.
Mansions, sites of battle, roadside markers. Stafford County offers much to the Civil War enthusiast in terms of history and interest. Why not make Stafford a stop on your next educational tour?
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