Doswell Travel Guide: 46 reviews and 63 photos

Best known for the amusement park found on the east side of I 95, there is a park administered by Hanover County, a few miles to the west where you can find some of the best preserved trenches of the Civil War. The park was given to the county by the folks from General Crushed Stone whose quarry you can see beyond. At the time of the battle, there were few of the trees that you find here on the site now. In fact, the park is quite a natural reserve. You would not know that the place had much historical significance, but it does.

Following the bloody draws of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania, Grant moved the Union army to the east and south of Lee in an attempt to try and catch the Confederate army out of their trenches in the open for a climactic battle. The North Anna was the next geographical barrier that Lee could use to place his army between Grant's and Richmond. On May 23, two separate bridgeheads were gained by the Federals, Maj.Gen.Winfield Scott's II corps capturing ground around where today's US 1 crosses the North Anna - Telegraph Road bridge - and four miles upriver where V corps troops under Maj.Gen.Governeur Warren secured a crossing at Jericho Mills. Lee then interposed his army in an inverted 'V' between the two Federal forces, anchoring his lines on a strong point above the River at what was known as the Ox Ford. Like at Chancellorsville, Lee hoped to hold one part of the Union army while he pounced with his main force on the other, thus beating it in detail. Hancock's forces marched into his bridgehead on May 24th and were ripe for the picking when fate intervened. Robert Lee had been suffering from pericarditis since at least the time of Chancellorsville the year before and at this inopportune time, it is felt that he suffered a heart attack. Incapacitated, there was no one on the Confederate side who could pull the trap. Lee was left muttering on his cot, 'We must strike them a blow, we must never let them pass us again, we must strike a blow!' By the time Lee had recovered somewhat, Hancock had entrenched his troops and the danger had passed. Stalemate again took over and Lee withdrew across the river on May 26, moving to the south and east once more, to a destiny he faced at Cold Harbor. About 2000 casualties were suffered in th four days of fighting on both sides - most occurred in fighting on the bridgehead with Warren's troops where an attack almost succeeded in destroying the Federal incursion before falling apart. Another sad episode took place in an attack on the Ox Ford line by Brig.Gen.James Ledlie on May 24 - Ledlie was drunk when he ordered the attack. Ledlie's brigade attacked an entire Confederate division and was heavily repulsed in a driving rainstorm. Ledlie would go on to be promoted and kill more men at The Crater during the Siege of Petersburg. A well-known painting shows the attack of one of Ledlie's regiments - the 57th Massachusetts - led by its commander, LTC Charles Chandler who fell in the attack.

To visit the battlefield of North Anna, stop by one of the two Visitor Centers for the Fredericksburg-Spotsylvania National Battlefield Park - either in Fredericksburg or Chancellorsville - and pick up one of their brochures on the Battle of North Anna. A synopsis of the battle along with good driving directions and a map are included. This tour will take you to other sites that took place during the battle. The tips I include are to be found at the Hanover County Park found on the north side of VA 684, a few miles west of US 1 - use either the Doswell exit off I-95 or the next exit 104 at Carmel Church to access the park.

  • Intro Written Nov 13, 2006
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