#NC-08160-WP - Notecards
Also available in Assortment Pack #AST-790
1804, the Fredericksburg Baptist Church located to its present
site in 1855 when the present sanctuary building was built. Prior
to its move, 75 percent of the membership consisted of slaves
and free blacks. With the completion of the new building, the
old one was sold to the black members for their own house of worship
while the white members relocated to this building. The balcony
located at the rear of the sanctuary interior was not used as
a slave gallery as many suppose, but rather as the location of
the choir and organ.
of stucco-covered brick, the building was the second largest church
building in Fredericksburg. The sanctuary on the upper level featured
28-foot ceilings and tall arched windows. The single-story lower
level was used as an informal gathering room and also housed the
Sunday school. The steeple housed a 1700-pound bell made in New
York, which is still in use today.
was less than ten years old when the Civil War began. During the
Battle of Fredericksburg in December 1862, the church building
suffered extensive damage as the result of an artillery bombardment
of the town. Windows were shattered and the roof and walls sustained
several holes from cannon balls. The pews were torn out and the
sanctuary later used as a Federal field hospital. Services, which
had been suspended following the battle, resumed two months after
the warÕs end.
the church has continued to hold regular services in the sanctuary
and a chapel that now occupies the lower level. With the exception
of modern utilities, the buildingÕs interior and exterior features
are much the same as they were when first constructed.
© 1996 Dianne Harrah, Drawing © 1996 Bill Harrah