Also known locally as the "Ashley Tract", the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust purchased this key portion of land on March 16, 1998, to prevent it from being lost to development. It includes extensive frontage on heavily traveled Virginia State Route 3/Plank Road. At just under 100 acres it is one of CVBT’s largest acquisitions.
On May 2, 1863, Major General Lafayette McLaws' Confederates skirmished across these then-forested fields during the Battle of Chancellorsville. McLaws' offensive displays pinned Major General Winfield Hancock's division to its works, giving Major General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson time to reach and turn the Union army's right flank. It also prevented the Union command from shifting badly-needed reinforcements to its right flank.
In these tangled thickets east of Chancellorsville, Georgia troops led by Brigadier General William Wofford fought against Pennsylvania, New York, and New Hampshire men led by Brigadier General John C. Caldwell. Colonel Nelson A. Miles was wounded nearby while directing the Union skirmish line. Colonel Miles earned the Medal of Honor for his actions and later went on to become general-in-chief of the post-war United States Army.
For two days McLaws' skirmishers sparred with Union troops. On Day 3, McLaws' entire line swept forward in a general assault, helping to drive Hooker away from Chancellorsville and seal the Confederate victory.
Within a few months of CVBT acquisition this important tract was incorporated into Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. Today a new walking trail across the field allows the public to explore this often overlooked phase of the battle.