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151 Years Ago Today

One hundred and fifty-one years ago today, Stevenson Ridge became a battlefield. It wasn’t known as Stevenson Ridge back then, of course—that’s the name my family gave the property after we purchased it in 2001. In 1864, it was part of a plantation owned by the Beverly family.

Just two miles to the east, the Union and Confederate armies clashed along the Brock Road just outside the village of Spotsylvania Court House after fighting for days in the Wilderness. The Confederates bottle-necked the road, forcing part of the Union army to approach the village along a different route entirely.

That portion of the army, the IX Corps commanded by the crazily whiskered Ambrose Burnside, swung out of the Wilderness by marching east on May 8 and then, on May 9, coming down the Fredericksburg Road. They crossed the Ni River and then deployed across the Beverly property.

In other words: here.

The soldiers dug extensive earthworks, which still wind through the woods of our property. The National Park Service has called them the best-preserved earthworks in private ownership.

Last year, my husband, Chris—Stevenson Ridge’s historian in residence—wrote more about our property’s earthworks. You can read his story at Emerging Civil War.

The day after the Union army arrived, one of Burnside’s subordinates, General Thomas Greeley Stevenson, was killed while directing troops in the area. “Stevenson” happens to be a family name on my mother’s side, so it seemed an especially fitting memorial to name the property in Stevenson’s honor. You can read more about the general in another of Chris’s articles.