Built in 1859 by John Howison, Braehead is a 6,200 square foot manor house, nestled on 27 acres in historic Fredericksburg, Virginia. Braehead is located within the bounds of the Fredericksburg Battlefield National Park.
On the morning of the 1st Battle of Fredericksburg General Robert E. Lee took breakfast at Braehead, tying his famous horse "Traveller" to the black walnut tree on the south lawn. During the 2nd Battle of Fredericksburg the Union Army occupied the house killing livestock, breaking household dishes and leaving graffiti, bayonet marks, bullet holes, and carvings as proof of ‘residence’. The Union Army would also use the house as a hospital.
The brick mansion was placed under a preservation easement held by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources in 2008 after the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust purchased the property. The property was already listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but register status simply notes historic importance. A property can be listed on the National Register one day and demolished the next (if the property owner is so inclined). An easement, however, applies a protective requirement on the property.
CVBT has worked with the previous owner, Dr. Graham Stephens, to ensure permanent protection of this antebellum house. The easement will protect the historic aspects of the property, while allowing the house to remain in use as a family dwelling. The associated 18 acres of woods, which remains a private holding within the National Park boundary is also protected from ever being subdivided or developed. This significant battlefield landmark will remain intact and continue to contribute to the visitor experience at Fredericksburg.
CVBT sold the protected property in 2011 to a prominent local family who has painstakingly restored the home and now provides services as a bed and breakfast.