December 11 is an important day in Virginia history.
On this day in 1862, Union forces slipped across the Rappahannock River and torched Fredericksburg. Two days later, they tried to take the heavily fortified Marye’s Heights south of the town and were mowed down in what became one of the most lopsided Confederate victories of the war.
One Union officer said that their assaults appeared to melt like snow hitting the ground (Union troops actually chanted “Fredericksburg” during Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg when it was the Union who controlled the heights).
Today, the voters of Virginia’s 1st District, anchored in Fredericksburg, will elect either Republican state Rep. Rob Wittman or Democratic Iraq veteran Philip Forgit to replace the late Rep. Jo Ann Davis (R).
Throughout the district are symbols of Virginia new and old: Stratford Hall (Robert E. Lee’s birthplace) and Fort A.P. Hill (named after the Confederate general under Lee’s command), and Millennial Gov. Mark Warner’s (D) farm on the Northern Neck.
Which Virginia will show up today: Warner’s Democratic converts or the heirs of the old Democratic Party, now under the banner of the GOP, who ruled here for decades on the platform of despising Lincoln’s Republicans?
Polls indicate that it’ll probably be Wittman, but if history tells us anything it’s that this district should never be overlooked and is never easily won.
Virginia’s 1st Congressional District
Battle of Fredericksburg, December 11-15, 1862