Remove Ads
242 votes

Chatham Manor

120 Chatham Ln, Fredericksburg, Virginia 22405 USA

  • Independent
  • Credit Cards
    not Accepted
Add to Trip
Remove Ads

Chatham Manor is the Georgian-style home completed in 1771 by farmer and statesman William Fitzhugh, after about 3 years of construction, on the Rappahannock River in Stafford County, Virginia, opposite Fredericksburg. It was for more than a century the center of a large, thriving plantation, and the only private residence in the United States visited by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Chatham also reflected the new country's racial tensions. In January 1805, Chatham's slaves overpowered and whipped their overseer and assistants in a minor slave rebellion. An armed posse of white men quickly gathered. They killed one slave in the attack, and two more died trying to escape capture. Two other slaves were deported, likely to the Caribbean or Louisiana, and Fitzhugh soon sold the property. Five decades later, in 1857, owner Hannah Jones Coalter (the 77-year-old mother of a disabled daughter named Janet), died and attempted to manumit her 93 slaves after making provision both for her daughter and them. Her relatives sued, claiming that after the Dred Scott decision, slaves were legally incapable of choosing whether to remain enslaved or receive their freedom and enough money to establish themselves in another state. While local judges thought the executors should free the slaves per Hannah's intent, a divided Virginia Supreme Court disagreed. Thus, the executors sold Chatham with its slaves to J. Horace Lacy (husband of Hannah's much younger half-sister Betty), although soon one slave was allowed to travel to raise money to buy freedom for herself and her small family, and succeeded. During the American Civil War, the Lacys abandoned Chatham, and ultimately sold it to pay taxes (including on their other estate, Ellwood Manor) in 1872. Its strategic site overlooking Fredericksburg briefly served as Union headquarters, and later as the major Union hospital during battles for control of the strategic Virginia city and Spotsylvania county en route to the Confederate capital. Due to wartime use and disuse, Chatham fell into great disrepair. Saved from total destruction as the 20th Century began by Virginians who had earned fortunes in the North, Chatham was refurbished and became a showpiece. Willed to the National Park Service in 1975, the estate now serves as the headquarters for the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.

Read More >
Add Review
Your Rating

Be the first to add a review to the Chatham Manor.

Chatham Manor

120 Chatham Ln
Fredericksburg, Virginia
22405 USA

Hours not available

Problem with this listing? Let us know.

  • Parking
  • Pets Allowed
  • Restrooms
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Credit Cards Accepted
See More Details (2)
Remove Ads

Nearby Hotels

Fredericksburg, Virginia
Bowling Green, Virginia
Fredericksburg, Virginia
Port Royal, Virginia

Related Trip Guides

  • Trip Guide

The top things to do on an East Coast road trip

  • 32 Places
  • 48:54
  • 2,584 mi
  • Trip Guide
  • 1 Week

The top things to do on a Blue Ridge Parkway road trip

  • 47 Places
  • 25:00
  • 990 mi
  • Trip Guide

The top things to do on an I-95 road trip

  • 50 Places
  • 37:29
  • 1,979 mi
Remove Ads