Plate 29. Lacy House, Falmouth, Virginia

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Description
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.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
1862-12
maker
Gardner, Alexander
place made
United States: Virginia, Falmouth
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 7 in x 9 in; 17.78 cm x 22.86 cm
ID Number
1986.0711.0334.29
accession number
1986.0711
catalog number
1986.0711.0334.29
related event
Civil War
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Photographic History
Gardner's Sketchbook
Engineering, Building, and Architecture
Photography
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

Comments

I currently work for the Town of Oswego Historical Society and Museum in Upstate New York and we have in our possession and on display the 1752 Lacy Family Bible that was taken from the Lacy House after the Lacy family fled the advancement of Union Troops and during the time it was turned into a Union Hospital. It was taken from the home by Dr. Mary Edwards Walker ( a union army assistant surgeon while at the Lacy House caring for Union Soliders) (she is the 1st and only female medal of honor recipient) in addition to being involved in the Temperance and women's right movements. Dr. Mary Edwards Walker- has signed the bible and comments on an inner page she bought the Bible after the family fled from someone who was "in charge" of the family possessions that were left in the house. My guess would be that is was not purchased but simply taken as so many civilian possessions where looted by union troops as the moved through-out the South. Curious, if other than Dr .Mary Edwards Walkers primary documented accounts of the Lacey House we have here at our museum is there any other known primary evidence that connect the Lacy House and Dr. Mary Edwards Walker time of her Service out there?
I am intrested in the History of The Lacy House and the Chatham house as it is a part of my families history.

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