Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Chatham Manor While Camping

Back to Camping Adventure 2012 with Blake and his medical school friends!  On Saturday, they made their way out to a local battlefield, and they toured a house on it called the Chatham Manor.  This house sits on the Rappahanock River and it's close to Fredericksburg, VA.
Chtaham Manor is actually older than my country!  Haha I like saying it like that.  A dude named William Fitzhugh completed the home in 1771.

Fitzhugh was buddy-buddy with George Washington, and he stayed at the Chatham Manor several times!  That's right... The President!  My law school's name sake!  It's kind of spooky to picture the house old enough to house the first president.  Evidently there are some records of James Monroe and Thomas Jefferson staying at the house as well.
Sadly, there were many slaves on the property -- around 100 at times.  A woman named Hannah Coulter owned the house in the 1800s.  In her will, she put in a condition that all her slaves be released upon her death, with passage paid to Liberia.  Unfortunately, other potential beneficiaries challenged the will in court.  The court relied on the Dred Scot decision by the Supreme Court to invalidate the will and say that slaves, as property, had no choice in the matter.

I read about that on Wikipedia, and I searched through Westlaw and LexisNexis (legal searches)  to see if I could find the case.  It was back in the 1850s, so I had no luck finding anything.  I believe the story though.  In my Trusts and Estates class, we've briefly discussed wills that set slaves free or leave money to slaves.  The wills were often invalidated by reason of insanity or some other lame excuse.  Very sad.

Chatham Manor was right next to the Battle of Fredericksburg.  The war basically ran the owners of the house out.  The union moved in and even turned the Manor into a hospital.
In the picture on the right, there are several unmarked graves with Civil War soldiers buried there. 

The picture above depicts Richard Kirkland, a Confederate soldier who brought water to injured and dying Union soldiers during the Battle of Fredericksburg.  He was known among the troops as "The Angel of Marye's Heights."  The Battle was particularly bloody because Union soldiers had to cross a field with no cover.  In just one hour, 3,000 Union soldiers died.  That night, during a cease fire, the injured lay among the dying.  The Union was able to save some in the field after dark, but others were too close to the Confederate line to risk attempting to save.  That night, a 19-year-old Confederate soldier convinced his commanding officer to let him bring water to the injured in the field.  When he scaled the wall and entered the field, the Union fired shots at him until they realized his altruistic motives.  Richard Kirkland later died in the Battle of Chickamauga.

It seems like the guys had a good time!

And I found this picture after I'd already posted the last post, but it's pretty enough to deserve getting onto the blog!
The guys came back from camping on Sunday morning.  I did laundry ASAP because my hay fever went haywire when Blake got back into the apartment (see what I did there with all that hay stuff?).

As for me and my weekend, I studied a LOT.  I wrote a LOT.  I danced a LOT (in my living room). You know, the usual.

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