Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania
National Military Park - Chancellorsville Unit
Seven miles west of Fredericksburg sits the Chancellorsville unit of the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.  Just take Route 3 west and you can't miss it, which is a bit unfortunate as the visitor center, which sits within a glen of trees near the site of Stonewall Jackson's demise, is very close to the road.  The Battle of Chancellorsville occurred on May 1, 1863, basically the midpoint of the two other important battles of the Virginia theater during this time, Fredericksburg and Gettysburg.  After Fredericksburg, the Union Army had undergone a lot of change.  It had endured Burnside's mud march after the battle, his subsequent removal from his position as commander and replacement by General Joe Hooker.  It had devised plans for the spring that now included movement against the enemy, and that movement around Fredericksburg would end up in the battle seven miles west that would be thought of as Robert E. Lee's best victory, the Battle of Chancellorsville.  But by the end of this battle, which lasted three days in earnest and more than a week in total, the victory would come at great cost.  Some might say that cost would impact the rest of the war.  General Stonewall Jackson was killed by his own troops who thought it was Union cavalry approaching as dusk overtook the battlefield on May 2, the second day of the main battle.  You can take the battle walk from the Chancellorsville Visitor Center that talks about this action and what it meant to the war.  Don't miss it.  And what did it mean?  Well, it's only supposition, of course, but it could have meant further annihilation of the Union troops at Chancellorsville if Jackson's plans for that night (he had desired to continue his attack into the darkness, but that plan was halted after he was wounded), and the next day, had been carried forward with full force. Plus, it could have meant a victory several months later at Gettysburg with Stonewall Jackson as another solid commander beyond Lee and Longstreet.

You can visit the location where Jackson was cared for, and subsequently died eight days later, on the Chandler plantation, known as the Jackson Shrine, which is part of the park and located south of Fredericksburg in Guinea Station.

Things You Should Not Miss

1. Don't miss the Stonewall Jackson battle walk that starts in front of the Visitor Center during the summer season and at other times during the year.  It may seem odd that the most important element to many about the battle of Chancellorsville, despite the great Confederate victory, was in the loss of this general.  But the battle walk and ranger explanation gives great context to its meaning.

2. There is a 22 minute film in the Visitor Center that is an important overview of the battle.  The Battle of Chancellorsville has many elements, and the film is rather essential in understanding what went on here, especially if you're going to take the 12 mile driving tour later, which you should.

3. Even though a bit far afield from this unit of the park itself (it's closer to Fredericksburg), the Stonewall Jackson shrine on the former Chandler plantation can put a good coda on the Chancellorsville battle.  It's located south of Fredericksburg.

Fall on Chancellorsville Battlefield

What is There Now

Two Park Visitor Centers

Chancellorsville Visitor Center - Located just off Route 3 seven miles west of Fredericksburg, the pleasant visitor center located within a woods has a 22 minute film about the days of the Chancellorsville campaign, actually April 26 to May 6 when you consider all movements.  From there you can go on ranger walks, the twelve mile driving tour, and find out more about the battle through exhibits.

Stonewall Jackson Shrine - Located south of Fredericksburg in Guinea Station off Interstate 95 and Route 607.  Check the park map for directions from the park.  There are alternate routes available that follow the Civil War movements of the Army so you don't have to trek down the interstate, unless that's something you really like.

Lodging and Camping

Most of the opportunities for lodging are located between Chancellorsville and Fredericksburg, and there are many choices of places to stay in Fredericksburg and its suburbs.  Check out your favorite online travel site, such as Expedia, or the city visitor bureau for an appropriate hotel, motel, or campsite.

Chancellorsville Links

Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park
Chancellorsville Unit - National Military Park 
Stonewall Jackson Shrine

Nearby Attractions

Spotsylvania County Visitor Center
Stafford County Visitor Center
Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center
Frederickburg City Visitors Center
Spotsylvania Unit - National Military Park
The Wilderness Unit - National Military Park

Virginia Tourism

Chancellorsville Then and Now

Illustration of the Battle of Chancellorsville
Illustration of the Battle of Chancellorsville.  (LOC)

Chancellorsville Then

Chancellorsville was little more than a waystation in 1863 and the battle was waged all around the area for more than the main three days, starting west of town past Wilderness Church, and moving back toward Fredericksburg to the Salem Church area more than a week later.  Check out Salem Church, which is on the outskirts of the city if you get the chance.  From April 26 to May 6, the battle was waged between the forces of Robert E. Lee and Joe Hooker at locations like the Catherine Furnace, Chancellorsville Inn, and Hazel Grove.  You can see the remains of these sites, although many are gone, during the 12 mile drive around the main battlefield.

Chancellorsville Now

Chancellorsville Battlefield

The park is an expansive display of Civil War history, even though it has become a busy place in some locations off Route 3, that keeps expanding to accomodate the growing suburbs of Fredericksburg.  Despite that, you'll get a great history lesson on how tactics in the Civil War can maneuver a victory, as both Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson were on fine display here.  It was a Confederate victory, even though it came at great cost.

Picture above and to the right shows two views of Chancellorsville Battlefield, part of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.  Above, the artillery position of the South at Hazel Grove.  Right, the fields of Stonewall Jackson's flank attack.  (Photo courtesy NPS)

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Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park

There are four distinct units of the park that represent four distinct battles.  For more informaiton on the specific units, click below

The Wilderness

Visitor Statistics

Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park
880,251 visitors

#78 Most Visited National Park Unit

Park Size

Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park

7,339 acres (Federal)
8,382 acres (Total)

Source: NPS, 2013 Visitor Statistics; Visitor Rank among 369 units.

Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park Entrance Fees


Fredericksburg Movie
$2 - Adults
$1 - Over 61
Free - Under 10 and School groups

Chancellorsville Movie
$2 - Adults
$1 - Over 61
Free - Under 10 and School groups

Fees subject to change without notice.

Fredericksburg Weather

Humid and hot in the summer with mild winters.  Typical Virginia weather with winters that are mild, but with snow possible.

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