One of the great things about touring by bike is that you see so much that you would miss by car. And this area is full of Civil War sites. We were more fortunate than the Union Army, reaching Richmond in just one day instead of taking several years and countless dead and wounded. But biking more than 70 wet miles means we didn’t have time to really see the sights. Even taking photos tended to be hurried.
Fredericksburg is the site of a couple of Civil War battlefields (referred to on one sign as the first and second battles of Fredericksburg, but the second one is better known as Chancellorsville).
The gray mist over these cannons set the appropriate mood. The first battle was in December 1862, and as we biked past where North and South had fought, I could only think of how cold and wet it must have been. We were dealing with rain, but at least we have waterproof jackets and warm, wicking fabrics.
Chancellorsville is where Stonewall Jackson was mortally wounded by friendly fire, and the East Coast Greenway route goes past the spot where he died. Turns out that’s now part of the National Parks Service.
And then we biked through the area where the Battle of North Anna took place — a battle I’d never heard of. It’s part of the brutal 1864 campaign. Today? It’s where we found our first food stop — a Mexican restaurant.