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Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail

Site Information

  • Site Contact: Ernest L. Pennington; (540) 582-7010 epennington@spotsylvania.va.us
  • Site Access: Free, open daily
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Site PBV10: Spotsylvania Court House Battlefield, Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania Nat'l Military Park

Description

The crossroads at Spotsylvania Courthouse have the misfortune of sitting along the shortest route to Richmond, chosen by the Union Army. In May of 1864, General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia headed off Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Potomac, making a costly but successful stand against the invaders. The extensive earthworks are all that remain for visitors to see. However, with a vivid imagination, you can picture thousands of troops hidden in these trenches. Take careful note of the unfortunate bend in the trenches, the so-called “Bloody Angle” where the Union forces concentrated their attack resulting in twenty hours of the fiercest hand-to-hand combat the country has ever seen. After the surviving troops finally moved on, over 30,000 casualties remained in a devastated community cut through with miles of trenches. It is suggested that this battle marked the beginning of the end for the Confederates since General Lee lost so many of his finest officers that he was never able to replace. The battlefield at Spotsylvania Courthouse has returned to fields and woodland with the numerous trenches now small ridges that snake through the fields. The woods here are filled with the sounds of red-bellied and downy woodpeckers and the only blues and grays left in the forest are those of blue jays and Carolina chickadees. As you wander the edge of the forest, watch for a flash of red in the undergrowth signaling the arrival of a northern cardinal or an American robin. Out in the open, check the taller grasses for skulking sparrows including song, savannah and vesper. Be sure to keep checking overhead for a red-tailed hawk soaring high above the treetops amongst the turkey and black vultures or perhaps a northern harrier quartering the meadow in search of invisible rodents hidden deep in the grass.

Directions

Leaving Ni River Park, continue southwest on Rt. 627/Gordon Road for 1.9 miles to Rt. 613. Turn left (south) on Rt. 613/Brock Road and follow it 0.9 miles to the battlefield on the left. To return to the interstate, return to Rt. 613 and turn left. Follow this to SR 208 in Spotsylvania Courthouse. Turn left and follow SR 208 northeast to US 1 and I-95. From here you can travel south to the Henrico Loop.

Loop Map