Fredericksburg is among the most famous battles of the Civil War. On December 13, 1862, General Ambrose E. Burnside launched a series of brave but futile attacks against General Robert E. Lee’s position on the heights behind town. Lee’s men, posted in a strong position behind a stone wall at the base of Marye’s Heights, successfully repulsed repeated Union attacks.
Begin your visit to the park at the Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center, Exhibits and and 20-minute film inside the building describe the battle. Take a guided walk down the Sunken Road, scene of the heaviest fighting, and then return to the visitor center by way of the national cemetery, where 15,300 Union soldiers now lie buried. After leaving the visitor center, drive across the river to Chatham, an 18th-century plantation that served as a Union headquarters and hospital during the war, and then take a spin down Lee Drive, the 5-mile-long park tour road that follows the Confederate line.