Plate 29. Lacy House, Falmouth, Virginia

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Text and photograph from Gardner's Photographic Sketchbook of the War, Vol. II. Negative by Alexander Gardner, text and positive by Alexander Gardner.
The Lacy House, situated on the banks of the Rappahannock, immediately opposite Fredericksburg, when taken possession of by the United States troops, in the spring of 1862, was surrounded with beautiful lawns, rare flowers, and all the exterior adornments of an elegant country seat. The building was erected previous to the Revolutionary war, and many of the distinguished men of that period have met within its walls. Since that time the property has passed through the hands of but three different families, each generation handing it down to the descendents, after the old English custom of inheritance. The owner was a Major on the Staff of one of the rebel corps commanders during the rebellion; and his young wife, whose rare beauty was only equalled by her spitefulness towards Federal officers, lived with a relative near the Wilderness battle-field after the occupation of the estate by our troops. The view here presented shows the front of the house, looking towards the city, which is not more than three hundred yards distant, the river being very narrow at this point. The grounds in front of the mansion were terraced down to the river bank, and were ascended by means of granite steps, bordered with vines and tropical plants.
General McDowell first used the building as his headquarters, and afterwards General Burnside pitched his tents in the yard. Many of our general officers subsequently occupied the house, and finally it became a sort of depot for the Christian Commission. At the battle of Fredericksburg, in December, 1862, a hospital was established here, and suffered considerably from the shells of the enemy, who directed a severe artillery fire against the house, supposing it to be occupied by some of our Generals. A large number of the Union dead are buried near the house, and earthworks for artillery disfigure the adjacent grounds. The shade trees have been cut down, the gravel walks annihilated, and many years must elapse before the last evidences of war shall have disappeared from the place.
Currently not on view
date made
Gardner, Alexander
place made
United States: Virginia, Falmouth
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 7 in x 9 in; 17.78 cm x 22.86 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
related event
Civil War
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Photographic History
Gardner's Sketchbook
Engineering, Building, and Architecture
Data Source
National Museum of American History