Located 45 miles (72 km) south of Washington, D.C. and 58 miles (93 km) north of Richmond, Fredericksburg is part of the Northern Virginia region and is included in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Located near where the Rappahannock River crosses the Atlantic Seaboard fall line, Fredericksburg was a prominent port in Virginia during the colonial era. During the Civil War, the town, located halfway between the capitals of the opposing forces, was the site of the Battle of Fredericksburg and Second Battle of Fredericksburg, preserved in part as the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. More than 10,000 African Americans in the region left slavery for freedom in 1862 alone, getting behind Union lines. Tourism is a major part of the economy, with approximately 1.5 million people visiting the Fredericksburg area annually, including the battlefield park, the downtown visitor center, events, museums and historic sites.
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