A National Park Service property, Chatham Manor was built between 1768 and 1771 by planter and statesman William Fitzhugh who named the property after the Earl of Chatham in admiration for the Earl's support of the patriots during the American Revolution. The sprawling estate required more than 100 enslaved men, women and children to serve as field hands and servants as well is in the skilled trades. In 1805 Chatham was the site of a slave uprising and later served as a Union headquarters and field hospital during the Civil War.

President Lincoln visited Chatham Manor during Union occupation, and Clara Barton tended Union soldiers here. Walt Whitman visited his wounded brother at Chatham and wrote letters home for Union soldiers. By the end of the Civil War, Chatham's floors were bloodstained from surgeries, paneling had been ripped from the walls for firewood, and soldiers had covered the plaster walls with graffiti. Fortunately, Chatham Manor was restored by private philanthropists in the 1920s and subsequently donated to the National Park Service.

Chatham Manor has a staffed visitor desk, gift shop, film, and guided tours of the house and gardens. Chatham features a replica of the type of pontoon used by the Union to cross the Rappahannock during the Battle of Fredericksburg. From the heights of Chatham Manor there are scenic views of the pontoon crossing area and historic Fredericksburg across the river.

Pictured at the top: The carriage-side entrance of Chatham Manor.

fredericksburg chatham manor garden

Using pontoon bridges, the Union crossed the Rappahannock and invaded Fredericksburg below their headquarters at Chatham Manor. The restored 1768 Georgian-style mansion now offers tours of the house and grounds and features a replica of the type of pontoon built by Union engineers during the Battle of Fredericksburg.