Tour some of the “best-preserved earthworks in private hands”

One of the best advantages to staying at Stevenson Ridge for Civil War buffs is that they can get a chance to see a part of the Spotsylvania battlefield that not many people get to see.

The Union Ninth Corps occupied the ground that is now Stevenson Ridge during the first week of the battle, and the Union Fifth Corps occupied it during the battle’s second week. Additionally, the Union Sixth Corps moved across part of the property. That’s ¾ …


Saving Some Nearby Battlefield

Army of the Potomac commander George Gordon Meade was nearly captured by Confederates on Myer’s Hill. A newspaper artist sketched the incident, “Narrow Escape of Genl Meade.”

from Chris

Our friends at the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust (CVBT) announced some big news recently: they’re saving a key piece of Civil War battlefield at Spotsylvania Courthouse that’s right across the street from Stevenson Ridge.

The property is known as Myer’s Hill, and it saw a lot of action on May 14, …


A Civil War-Time Image of Stevenson Ridge

from Chris

I’ve written in the past of two wartime images that show the property that is now Stevenson Ridge. We’ve recently come across a third image that shows the property, and it’s the earliest image of the three.

Sketched on May 10, 1864—the same day that Thomas Greeley Stevenson was killed nearby–the image shows reinforcements from the Federal IX Corps marching down the Fredericksburg Road past the Gayle House toward the front. Artist Joseph Becker captured the scene for …


The Civil War Comes to Stevenson Ridge

Traces of the Bloody Struggle-coverfrom Chris

The anniversary of the battle of Spotsylvania is this week. The battle opened on May 8, 1864, along the Brock Road. Today, the entrance to the national battlefield sits in the area where the battle opened.

A day later, May 9, 18634, the battle came to the area today known as Stevenson Ridge. Union infantry stormed across the Ny River and swept up the hill, making it almost into the Court House itself before stout Confederate resistance stopped …


Battlefield Season has Arrived Again

May 1 Battlefield 050117

The May 1 battlefield at Chancellorsville

from Chris

The beginning of May always means the start of battlefield season in Spotsylvania County. The anniversaries of the battles of Chancellorsville, the Wilderness, and Spotsylvania all took place in early May (in 1863 and 1864, respectively). The Civil War first came to Stevenson Ridge on May 9, 1864, and stayed for two weeks. During that time, three-quarters of the Union army moved across the property.

Ironically, the work I’ve been doing these …


Local Newspaper Spotlights Civil War Book

SD-coverThe Free Lance-Star ran an article Tuesday about the book Seizing Destiny: The Army of the Potomac’s “Valley Forge” and the Civil War Winter that Saved the Union, which was co-authored by Stevenson Ridge Historian-in-Residence Chris Mackowski. The newspaper article was written by veteran writer Clint Schemmer.

Seizing Destiny, which was written by the late Albert Conner, Jr., looks at the major transformation of the Union army during the bleak winter of 1862-63—period of the Civil War that historians …


Visiting a Civil War Hero’s Hometown

upton-birthplace-covered-signfrom Chris

For students of the battle of Spotsylvania Court House, one of the most famous stories is that of a Union officer named Emory Upton. On May 10, 1864, Upton devised a plan to attack the Confederate line along the western face of the Mule Shoe Salient. The attack involved brand new tactics, but it also looked like a long shot. Superiors told Upton he’d be promoted to brigadier general if he came back successful; if he wasn’t successful, …


Digital Traces

Traces of the Bloody Struggle-coverTraces of the Bloody Struggle: The Civil War at Stevenson Ridge, Spotsylvania Court House by Chris Mackowski is now available digitally through, courtesy of Savas Beatie, LLC.

The book recounts the action on the eastern front during the May 1864 battle. (Click here for more about the book.)

Hard copies of the book are available only through Stevenson Ridge: $10 plus shipping. For ordering info, contact…


Traces of the Bloody Struggle: The Civil War at Stevenson Ridge

Traces of the Bloody Struggle-coverfrom Chris

In my capacity as the historian-in-residence at Stevenson Ridge, one of my projects this summer has been to compile some information about the property’s role during the Civil War. Many of our guests are interested in the Civil War, and they stay here because we’re smack-dab in the middle of central Virginia’s Civil War landscape, right on the Spotsylvania battlefield. The array of earthworks and fortifications on the property are amazing. One NPS historian called them the best-preserved …


A Sketch of Stevenson Ridge, 1864

from Chris

Looking through issues of Harper’s Weekly from the Civil War era a couple weeks ago, I came across an unexpected surprise: an illustration that shows Stevenson Ridge in the background.





The image was captioned “Army of the Potomac—Crossing the River Ny, Virginia.” The Ni River (as it’s spelled today) runs past the base of the hill that Stevenson Ridge sits atop. Of course, it wasn’t Stevenson Ridge back then, so all you see of our …