About This Lesson
This lesson is based on the National Register of Historic Places registration file, "Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park" (with photographs), "Chatham Preliminary Historic Resource Study," and primary sources from the park. It was written by Elsa W. Lohman and Janice M. Frye, Park Rangers at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania Battlefields National Military Park. It was edited by Fay Metcalf and the Teaching with Historic Places staff. TwHP is sponsored, in part, by the Cultural Resources Training Initiative and Parks as Classrooms programs of the National Park Service. This lesson is one in a series that brings the important stories of historic places into the classrooms across the country.
Where it fits into the curriculum
Topics: This lesson could be used in American history courses in teaching units on the Civil War and women's history.
Time period: Mid-19th century
Relevant United States History Standards for Grades 5-12
Relevant Curriculum Standards for Social Studies
Find your state's social studies and history standards for grades Pre-K-12
Objectives for students
1) To explain why Chatham became a center of activity during the many battles that were fought near the house.
2) To identify the major personalities associated with Chatham.
3) To describe the impact of the war on Chatham and its owners.
4) To determine, based on the history of Chatham, to what period the house should be restored.
5) To examine how a war or a similar disaster affected people from their own community.
Materials for students
The materials listed below either can be used directly on the computer or can be printed out, photocopied, and distributed to students. The maps and images appear twice: in a low-resolution version with associated questions and alone in a larger, high-quality version.
1) two maps showing the importance of the geography of the Fredericksburg area to the military campaigns of 1862-1864;
2) three readings about the use of the house during the Civil War;
3) one document advertising Chatham in the Fredericksburg News;
4) two photos of historical and modern views of the house.
Visiting the site
Chatham now serves as the headquarters of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, which is administered by the National Park Service. Visitors may take a self-guided tour of the four nearby battlefields, the Stonewall Jackson Shrine, and the historic house itself. For more information write to the Superintendent, 120 Chatham Lane, Fredericksburg, VA 22405, or
visit the park's Web page.