Picture of the Heights at Smith Run plaque

The Heights at Smith Run

Picture of the Heights at Smith Run roadside Marker
Lakelyn Wiley, “Heights at Smith Run Historic Marker in Fredericksburg, Virginia,” 2018.


From May 1-3, 1863 Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson fought a powerful federal army to a standstill at Chancellorsville, while Major General Jubal A. Early’s division confronted the Union 6th Corps at Fredericksburg. On May 4th, following battles fought at Fredericksburg and Salem Church the day before, Early used Brigadier General William Smith’s Brigade to probe the Federal line near the Plank Road. He found it strongly held and so began careful preparations for another attack. At 6:00 P.M., Early launched his other brigades against the Union force. Brigadier Generals Robert F. Hoke, Harry T. Hays, and John B. Gordon led their men forward against the Federals positioned on the ridge traversed by modern day Cowan Boulevard. This first line collapsed under the pressure and the Confederates pressed on, across Smith Run. Colonel Lewis A. Grant’s Vermont Brigade held the ridge west of the creek and the severe fighting continued. The soldiers of Vermont counterattacked, but as the sun went down, they were outflanked by Gordon’s Brigade, which had worked its way north to Fall Hill. The Federals pulled back to a new line of defense along present-day Fall Hill Avenue, which they held that night while the Union Sixth Corps retreated across the Rappahannock River at Banks Ford.

This memorial is dedicated in memory of the 846 Confederate soldiers from Major General Early’s Division who were killed and wounded in the defense of Fredericksburg at Smith Run, May 4, 1863.


Jubal A. Early was a Major General in the Confederate Army. Early and his small contingency of 5,000 Confederates, held the line at Marye’s Heights on May 2, 1863. On May 3, Early and his men were overtaken by Union General John Sedgwick after Union scouts detected a weakness in the Confederates center. The following day on the 4th, Early and his forces retook Marye’s Heights.


Featured Image:

Lakelyn Wiley, “The Heights at Smith Run Closer Picture of Plaque in Fredericksburg, Virginia,” 2018.

(1) Kristopher White, Encyclopedia Virginia, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (2012), accessed April 23, 2018, https://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Fredericksburg_Second_Battle_of