Where is it?
Located halfway between Richmond, Virginia and Washington, DC, The Trail to Freedom retraces the routes of these freedom-seekers -men, women, and children – through the City of Fredericksburg, Virginia and the County of Stafford, Virginia.
Why did they do it?
On April 18, 1862, the Union Army occupied the port town of Falmouth, located in southern Stafford County, along the Rappahannock River: On May 2, they crossed the river and occupied the City of Fredericksburg. Throughout the region, slaves saw the arrival of the Federal forces as an opportunity for freedom.
How did they do it?
Risking all, many slaves left their masters and sought the protection of Union forces. Some served with Federal troops in support positions. By mid-September 1862, at least 10,000 freedom-seekers passed through the area, traveling thousands of miles by foot, wagon and rail, months prior to the Emancipation Proclamation on their way to Washington, DC and beyond.