Slaughter Pen Farm, Fredericksburg, Virginia
When I started out doing the research for Slaughter Pen Farm I never imagined that I would uncover all of the information that I did. This post and the YouTube video that is attached isn’t about the Civil War battle that occurred there; the historical research that would have to go into it would be astronomical. Slaughter Pen was a pivotal battle in the Battle of Fredericksburg during the Civil War, and that is best explained by a Civil War historian. I simply could not do it justice in such a small amount of time. So instead I focused on the aspect of the story that I could speak about, the changing landscape.
In early September of this year I started doing research on haunted locations within Fredericksburg and Stafford County. This area is rich with history, so I knew that I would be able to find quite a few. During my search I came across a location called Slaughter Pen; obviously the name itself was extremely intriguing so I put it at the top of my list to check out. At that point the only thing that I was aware of was that it was the location of a battle during the Civil War.
Since I was looking for haunted places, the first time I explored Slaughter Pen Farm was at night. So, there I was, walking around this huge property in pitch black spookiness. I could barely see the silhouettes of the large buildings; so, I knew that I needed to come back and look at it during the day light.
I returned the following day and walked along the path from the main house to one of the other houses down the trail. The landscape was absolutely gorgeous and the buildings were really neat looking. I didn’t know if the buildings were there pre-Civil War or post; they looked really old and dilapidated, but cool nonetheless. I took a few pictures of all of the buildings but I didn’t get too close because the heat was incredibly stifling so I told myself that I would return when the weather cooled off and I could really take the time to explore the area.
If you’ve ever lived in Virginia, you know that the weather is extremely unpredictable. Between the humidity, thunderstorms, hurricanes, and wind, the opportunities I had to return to Slaughter Pen were minimal. I had adventures planned for almost every weekend during the year, but I finally set aside time in early December. When I returned I was completely taken aback, I found that all of the buildings except the main house had been removed. There wasn’t any information posted anywhere, so I decided to do some research on my own to find out what had happened and why.
Any research about this property just directs you to sites about the Civil War. One piece of info I found was that the large farmland was now in the hands of the Civil War Trust. After the most recent owner, Mr. John Pierson, died in 2005, the CWT fought an uphill battle against developers. But luckily, they persevered and Slaughter Pen is now protected.
Through my research I found that there had actually been several more buildings, including a milking barn, an old house, several sheds, and 2 wells, on the site. Those structures were removed in 2014 for safety reasons and to give the battlefield a more authentic feel. Although I wasn’t able to find out any information about the recent removal of the remaining structures, I think its safe to deduce that they were removed for the same reasons. The turn-of-the-century main house is the only one left standing; it also appears to be in rough shape. The main house is historical in its own right, so hopefully there are plans to fix it up and open it as a museum or a visitor center.
Don’t Wait, Just Go!
If you’d like to take a look at a more fluid view of the area, I’ve included the video below. The video about Slaughter Pen Farm wasn’t necessarily to speak about it as the battlefield, it was to discuss the removal of the buildings. It was also to stress how important it is to get out and see the world around you while you can; you never know when buildings will disappear or landscapes will change.
It was a lesson learned for me as well that I should’ve taken more photos when I had the opportunity back in September; even though they weren’t from the Civil War, they were still extremely old and a part of the landscape history. The side by side photos that I’ve included in this post are comparisons from September of this year when I first visited the site, and from December. I’m curious to see what the area morphs into. It would be great to find information about future plans.
Hopefully my mistakes are a lesson to you to motivate you into gear! Stop putting off something that you wanted to see. Get out there and Adventure! As always, I appreciate you taking the time to read about my Adventuring journey and I look forward to any comments you have.
Until next time,