No great battles were fought within Stafford County, but during the winter of 1862-1863 120,000 men of the Army of the Potomac camped along its ridges and valleys.
When the army finally left in June, 1863 to pursue Lee into Pennsylvania, Stafford County was virtually deserted with only those homes which had been occupied by officers or used as hospitals still left standing.It would take until the 1950’s for the county to get back to what it had been before the Union army arrived.This tour will take the visitor to some of the sites where the Army of the Potomac encamped during the winter 1862-1863.Except where noted, all of the property mentioned is private and visitors should not trespass.The roads you will be driving are heavily traveled, please use caution when pulling off or onto them.
“Our permanent camp…was one mile west of the antiquated, weather-beaten hamlet of Stafford Court House. The whole Army of the Potomac, more than 100,000 men, was crowded upon the barren, ragged strip of ridges and hollows lying between the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers.
Every elevation on both sides of the railroad, from Aquia Creek to Falmouth, had a camp perched upon it.
Our isolation from the outside world was…complete.”-Union soldier from Indiana, winter 1862-63 (1) Belmont Built in several stages throughout the years, research has shown the earliest part of the house dates back to 1761.
During the Civil War this home was owned by Joseph Burwell Ficklin, a flour mill operator from Culpeper, who enlarged the house over the years to accommodate his wife and six children.
In 1916, artist Gari Melchers and his wife Corinne purchased the property and enlarged the house and added the studio.
The home is on the National Historic Register and open to the public. 17, at 501 Melcher Drive, is (2) “Carlton”(1700s) which, according to family stories, served as Rutherford B. Hayes, who later became President of the United States, was at this time the Colonel of the 23rd Ohio.