Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg
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Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg

Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg
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2017 Honorary Albert Z. Conner NMPS Intern

At our January 25, 2017, Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg meeting, John Hennessy, Chief...
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 Destruction in Fredericksburg, December 1862

     While virtually every building in town suffered some sort of damage from artillery shells, the tax rolls give us a hint of number of taxable buildings actually lost. In 1865, the town collected property taxes after a three-year hiatus and the tax collector noted 51 buildings “burned,” 17 “shelled and pulled down,” and 16 “pulled down and burned.”  That’s a total of 83.  (The tax man noted another 17 buildings were listed as “damaged by shells,” but apparently not sufficiently so to warrant demolition.)

     The town had about 830 taxable structures at the war’s outset, so we have a nice round number of about 10% of the town’s buildings destroyed—the vast majority in the fighting of December 1862.  I have gone ahead and mapped the buildings listed as lost, and their locations also give us hints as to when they may have been lost.  Of the 83 buildings lost, at least 10 were in locations unlikely to have been touched by the Union bombardment of December 11. Instead, those buildings likely succumbed during the fighting on December 13—and in fact, most probably perished at the hands of Confederate artillery fire. Indeed, almost certainly, the buildings in the famous image of destruction at the junction of Hanover and George Streets suffered their fate at the hands of Confederate artillery.

     The looting that followed the Union bombardment of December 11, 1862, added a level of woe to the town that in many ways caused deeper scars than artillery fire. But that’s a topic for another day…..

 

Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg
Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg
Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg
Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg

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