Your reporter and His Esteemed Spouse (credit to Civil War Interactive) passed thru Fredericksburg on a beautiful Saturday after time on the Peninsula (my thoughts and prayers to tornado victims in Virginia y'day). The town was buzzing, Mary Washington U. students everywhere. Given our limited time and a desire to please both yours truly and HES, we lunched, shopped (more about that below), and then drove across the Rappahannock bridge to Chatham. Our last visit in the mid-70's was almost contemparaneous with the owner's donating it to the Nation. Now it's open, park HQ, and a great visit.
These gardens were quite impressive to HES, who knows gardens. Done in the 1920's, their beauty masks wartime use as a temporary burial ground for Union soldiers who died in the house during use as a battlefield hospital.
Is this the tree Walt Whitman mentions (NPS) as the location where the pile of amputated limbs accumulated?
The location, according to the ranger, is yards upriver from the vantage point of the photos. We drove by it later on the River Road to see/imagine the spot where the 7th Michigan bravely crossed, but the river is yards away, vegetation covers the ground, and no parking is available. Little did I know that staying on the west bank would have yielded a marker: scroll down to bottom NPS 2.
While shopping I found several booksellers and looked for something unique. Found a slim thing entitled Gettysburg Cyclorama, essentially pictures, for a few bucks, pub'd around the Centennial if my sense is accurate. Can't find it on Amazon; will have to take pics and do a later post.
We did not tour the battlefield. Not our goal; wanted to see something new since our last visit in the 70's. Had our eyes opened as if we had been on battleground.