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  • Erin Egnatz

Chatham Manor: Virginia

On the shores of Rappanhannock River in Fredericksburg, Virginia sits the Chatham Manor. Construction was completed on the grand home in 1771, becoming the centerpiece to a large tobacco plantation. Famous historical figures such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, William Henry Harrison, James Monroe, Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee have all been guests who had stayed at the manor.


The home has seen extensive turmoil in its 249 year history. During the early 1800's the home was the site of a rebellion by slaves who were forced to work the land. They were almost successful too, but were eventually caught and thus ended their fight for freedom.


Fast forward to 1862, the Chatham Manor became the site of Union headquarters and a field hospital during the American Civil War. It saw the ugliness that erupted from the battle of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania. Clara Barton, the famous Civil War nurse and American Red Cross founder, nursed wounded soldiers inside the home. Walt Whitman, a famous American poet, also volunteered to help wounded soldiers at the Chatham Manor during this time, according to the National Parks Service.


After the war, the home was in bad shape. Signs of war and death were obvious all over the home from boards drenched in blood stains to destroyed walls and furniture. It was a mess. It took time to bring it back to its former glory, but it did eventually become grand once again.


As for hauntings, there are quite a few ghosts said to haunt the home. There is a lady, all in white, who haunts the halls. She is to believed to be a former resident, or perhaps a woman scorned? It's hard to determine for sure, but those are a few of the theories. Ghostly soldiers have also been seen on the grounds. Sometimes appearing wounded while others seem perfectly fine. Disembodied voices, screams, and yells have been reported along with phantom gunfire. Visitors have also reported cold spots as well as a few human shaped shadows moving on their own accord.


Today the Chatham Manor is a grand reminder of history, one well worth a visit. Now it is part of the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Battlefield, if you want to check it out.


Photo By: Felix Lipov


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