Monday, June 10, 2019

Chatham Manor, Fredricksburg, Virginia

Very few houses have seen as much American History as Chatham Manor, high on the east bank of the Rappahannock River overlooking Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Author's photo of the grounds, with the Manor in
the background.
Chatham Manor was built by William Fitzhugh between 1768 and 1771, and was the centerpiece of a thriving plantation. Orchards, mills, crops, and more provided an excellent living for the family who inhabited the beautiful Georgian-style mansion.

The house derives its name from William Pitt, the Earl of Chatham.

More than 100 enslaved persons also called Chatham home, providing much of the labor that kept the plantation prosperous. In 1805, several slaves staged a rebellion, but their insurrection was quickly quelled and severely punished. The enslaved people would have to wait another 60 years before emancipation would be carried out.

Author's photo. One of the many outbuildings or
'dependencies' found at Chatham.
Chatham Manor would see many famous visitors over the years, from George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, William Henry Harrison, Robert E. Lee, Walt Whitman, and Clara Barton.

The house served as a hospital for Civil War soldiers during and after the battle of Fredericksburg. Trees had been cut down, the gardens and buildings nearly destroyed, and the lawn turned into a graveyard. The house had changed hands since Fitzhugh built it, and the owners faced a daunting task to bring the house back to habitability. The Lacy family abandoned the house, and it wasn't until the 1920s that Chatham was bought by the Devores who restored it to its former glory.
A chair on display at Chatham Manor.
Author's picture.

The view through one of Chatham's front windows.
The buildings in the distance are across the
Rappahannock River in the city of
Fredericksburg, Virginia.

A Federal style couch on display at Chatham. 
National Archives photo of Chatham Manor, December 1862. The porches
and additions were not original to the house, added later. 
Today, you can visit Chatham Manor, part of the National Parks System and the Fredericksburg Battlefield and Museum.

Click here to learn more

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Best-selling, award-winning author Erica Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. She’s a transplanted Kansan now living in Minnesota, and she married her total opposite and soul mate! When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks. You can connect with her at her website, www.ericavetsch.comwhere you can read about her books and sign up for her newsletter, and you can find her online at where she spends way too much time!


  1. Thanks for taking us with you on the tour!

  2. This is on our list of places to visit. We are wanting to take a long weekend in that area to visit all the sites. Virginia has so many great places to visit. Thank you for sharing it with us!

    1. You will love it! There are several CW Battlefields in that area, too. The guides are so nice and helpful, too!