Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
- Site Contact: Gregg Kneipp; (540) 654-5331 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Site Access: Fee area, open daily
- Visit Website
Other Trails Nearby
Site PBV06: Fredericksburg Battlefield, Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park
During the Civil War, Fredericksburg's location between Washington and Richmond made it a heavily contested area, thus witnessing some of the bloodiest battles of the war. The Battle of Fredericksburg occurred in December of 1862 soon after Ambrose Burnside replaced George McClellan as Major General of the Army of the Potomac. Burnside was not as cautious as McClellan had been and quickly redirected his army against Fredericksburg as a direct route to Richmond. He was hoping for a major defeat before the weather turned colder and limited large battles until the spring. Robert E. Lee and his troops were ready and waiting for the Union soldiers by the time they reached the Rappahannock River. The Unionists were not dissuaded, yet Lee won his most one-sided victory of the war. Confederate troops entrenched around the town of Fredericksburg managed to kill or wound over 12,000 Union troops. Over two-thirds of these troops were downed in front of the stone wall still standing behind the battlefield's visitor's center. After his defeat at Fredericksburg, Burnside lost command of his army and was replaced by Joseph Hooker who would return in the spring and try again. Fredericksburg Battlefield hosts an excellent visitor's center and a series of trails that lead through the city and surrounding hills. The trails take visitors through the events of the battle and provide an opportunity to watch wildlife in the area. In addition to their strong historical significance, the fields of the battlefield and joining National Cemetery host open country birds such as eastern bluebirds and northern mockingbirds. Eastern kingbirds can be seen perched high in the treetops each spring and summer while flocks of cedar waxwings use the same perches each winter. Check amongst the scrubby hedgerows for white-throated sparrows and northern cardinals. During migration warblers and vireos could turn up anywhere and the skies overhead should be checked for chimney swifts and common nighthawks at dusk.
Leaving Alum Spring Park, return north on Greenbrier Drive for 0.4 miles to SR 3 Business/William Street. Go east on SR 3 Business/William Street for 0.5 miles to US 1 Business/Lafayette Boulevard. Turn left and go north 0.3 miles to the visitor's center on the left.