This land is also important hallowed ground where troops from the Army of the Potomac's VI Corps marched and took fire from Confederates along the Howison Hill and Telegraph Hill ridgeline on May 3, 1863. These acres will also provide an important access and future interpretation point for visitors to learn more about the often forgotten story of the Second Battle of Fredericksburg.
During the Battle of Second Fredericksburg, May 3, 1863, regiments from the Army of the Potomac's Vermont Brigade marched and fought across the land that CVBT and Downtown Greens are working to preserve. Organized in 1861, the Vermont Brigade earned an early reputation for tenacity during the Peninsula Campaign and Seven Days' Battles. Possessing excellent leadership and determined soldiers, the Vermont Brigade continued to prove itself during the Overland, 1864 Shenandoah Valley, Petersburg, and Appomattox Campaigns
Among the Vermont Brigade units to march across the ground that CVBT seeks to preserve with Downtown Greens were the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 6th Vermont Infantry regiments. In a letter to his parents following the battle, Pvt. Hiram H. Tilley, 2nd Vermont, explained, "We charged across the open field to the foot of the Heights where we had to cross 'as best we could' a wide ditch partly full of of muddy water after which 'under a heavy fire of muskets' we charged up the Heights. . . ."
We had to march about a mile across an open field the enemies cannon rained a shower of shell on us as they burst all around us wounding 8 men and killing Lt. Col. Hales horse under him.
Sgt. Dan Mason, 6th Vermont Inf.
This sketch by Pvt. Albert A. Carter, 4th Vermont, shows VI Corps lines assaulting Confederate defenders along Howison and Telegraph Hills. Note Braehead, the Howison Family house and grounds, which was also preserved in part by CVBT through an easement in 2008.
In late 2021 CVBT approached Downtown Greens, a Fredericksburg non-profit whose mission is to foster community involvement and growth by protecting and nurturing urban greenspace through collaborative environmental stewardship and experiential education, about assisting their effort to save this 56-acre parcel of land – which had been slated for industrial development – contains living wetlands and mature trees, as well as some of the last farmland in Fredericksburg. This land will be preserved in perpetuity under the nurturing care of Downtown Greens, and CVBT will provide historic interpretation of the Battle of Second Fredericksburg, and the action of the Vermont Brigade across this land.
A host of studies have proven the health benefits of access to nature for all ages. As the pace of development in the City of Fredericksburg is hastening, open space is becoming more critical and the need to preserve it increasingly essential to the health of our community. This is one of the last remaining parcels of open greenspace in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and includes a mix of biologically diverse wetlands, mature trees and active farmland.
The Central Virginia Battlefields Trust continues our work to preserve historic green space. We're asking you to help us raise $10,000 to save these 56- acres and fulfill our pledge to our friends at the Downtown Greens.