Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park is a unit of the National Park Service in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and elsewhere in Spotsylvania County, commemorating four major battles in the American Civil War: Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, The Wilderness, and Spotsylvania. With the number of sites and the history involved the park will take some time to really do it justice. The battle of Fredericksburg was a failed attempt by General Ambrose Burnside to cross the Rappahannock and take the Confederate capital Richmond. Delayed arrival of the pontoons had given Robert E. Lee time to fortify the high ground, and the result was a one-sided massacre.
Marye’s heights was a rock wall the confederate forces held that union forces made repeated charges only to be slaughtered at every turn.
Chancellorsville was a bold gamble by Robert E. Lee, dividing his forces and sending Stonewall Jackson on a flanking attack, which took the enemy totally by surprise, causing the Union commander General Joseph Hooker to lose his nerve and call retreat.
Jackson was mortally wounded by his own pickets during a reconnaissance of the battlefield. The house where he died is preserved.
The wilderness was Robert E. Lee’s first battle against Grant, whose advantage in artillery could not be used in the dense forest. Casualties were high on both sides, and the battle is classed as a draw. Grant withdrew, but only in order to force another battle in more open country.
Spotsylvania was a key crossroads which Grant hoped to occupy, to keep his army between Lee and the Confederate capital Richmond. Lee was able to take this position just ahead of Grant. Heavy rain had dampened the gunpowder, leading to intense hand-to-hand fighting.