The Courthouse

The Courthouse (HM11H)

Location: Fredericksburg, VA 22401
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 18.137', W 77° 27.594'

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With the arrival of the Union army in the Spring of 1862, Fredericksburg-area slaves by the hundreds fled to freedom. To house the refugees, the Union army transformed the basement of the city courthouse (in front of you) into a temporary barracks. A Union officer remembered that the former slaves "seemed as happy as though they owned the town."

After the war, the "Freedman's Court" held session every Friday afternoon in the city courthouse, adjudicating civil cases brought by African-American citizens.

The Federals used the courthouse cupola as a signal station and observation post. From here Union General Darius Couch watched the futile attacks against Marye's Heights on December 13. Exclaimed Couch, "Oh great God! see how our men, our poor fellows, are falling!"

"The slaves are flocking to the Federal army by hundreds. As many as 80 have gone off at one time from the river plantations, and it is said there is scarcely a slaveholder in Fredericksburg who has not lost one or more of his negroes."
????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????- Gen. Irvin McDowell, USA, May 5, 1862

Sidebar in lower right corner: Union General O. O. Howard also watched the battle from the courthouse cupola. After the war he would head the Freedman's Bureau, whose local headquarters were in the Farmer's Bank building (to your right-rear). Howard University in Washington D.C., was named in his honor.
HM NumberHM11H
Placed ByFredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, National Park Service
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, September 7th, 2014 at 11:29am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 284901 N 4242217
Decimal Degrees38.30228333, -77.45990000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 18.137', W 77° 27.594'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 18' 8.22" N, 77° 27' 35.64" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)540
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 801-899 US-17 BUS, Fredericksburg VA 22401, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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