Founded on the western bank of the winding Rappahannock River in 1728, Fredericksburg began as a frontier port that served western settlers. The forty-block historic district includes the original town site. Fredericksburg, a county seat as well as a commercial center, thrived during and after the colonial period as turnpikes and railroads were built through the city. Many examples of colonial, Federal, Classical Revival, Victorian, and Colonial Revival buildings still stand in the downtown district. On December 13, 1862, Fredericksburg was also the scene of one of the Civil War’s bloodiest battles, which included fighting in the city’s streets.