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Court House on Princess Anne Street

Court House on Princess Anne Street

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Title

Court House on Princess Anne Street

Description

Date of Construction: 1852
Prewar: Designed by James Renwick (architect of St. Patrick's Cathedral in NYC and the Smithsonian in DC) Elaborate examples of the Gothic Revival architecture. North and South sections housed offices and rental space. After 1857 a firehouse was installed in the south section. A jail and an armory were situated nearby. The circuit courthouse was located on the east side of Princess Anne.
Wartime: In May 1864, a Union hospital was again established in the building. A Pennsylvania infantryman penned this account of his sojourn in the courtroom: "The main room or hall was about forty feet wide and about fifty feet long and at one end of it was an elevated platform with a railing around it. There also were several smaller rooms in the building. Every foot of space was appropriated for the wounded who were laid in rows on the bare floor with narrow aisles between. The small platform, about twelve feet square, was also occupied. Here I found sitting room for myself during the greater part of the time spent in the place, and thus had a good view...There was nothing on hand which would bring a slight degree of comfort to the wounded- no bedding whatever. The poor boys lay on the bare floor, having neither blanket for cover... or comfort on which to repose...Here were presented to the view wounds of all descriptions, bodies pierced by bullet, limbs shattered by shell or minie ball, eyes shot out, bowls protruding through rents made by ragged pieces of shell. I noticed a poor lad whose head was swollen almost twice its natural size, his eyes swollen shut, his face terribly bruised and inflamed, who at intervals, would thump his head on the hard floor in rapid, resounding strokes and utter piercing screams. He was delirious and may not have been fully conscious of his frightful condition. Some were groaning, others screaming in the agony of pain; some lay perfectly quiet, others tossed from side to side on the floor. Death was ever present to claim its victims. These were carried out just beyond the building...the grave diggers could be seen through the windows constantly at their gruesome task. I surveyed the dreadful scenes around me and almost persuaded myself to believe and feel that I was not a sufferer...so slight seemed my injury when compared with those of the mangled forms ever present to my view. --Muffly (pp. 822-23) Muffly, Joseph W. The Story of Our Regiment... Des Moines, Iowa, 1904

From: Harrison, Noel G. Fredericksburg Civil War Sites: April 1861-November 1862. Lynchburg, VA: H.E. Howard, 1995.

Present Condition: Still used as a public building.

Source

Lauren Milner

Date

2010

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Citation

"Court House on Princess Anne Street," in Fredericksburg: City of Hospitals, Item #139, https://projects.umwhistory.org/cwh/items/show/139 (accessed October 23, 2021).

Added by lauren