“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Falls Church, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Falls Church

Between the Armies

Falls Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, February 9, 2007
1. Falls Church Marker
Inscription. In 1861, Falls Church was a farm village located on the Alexandria-Leesburg Turnpike. On May 24, when Virginia's vote of secession became effective, Union troops crossed the Potomac and occupied Arlington Heights and Alexandria. On June 1, the 2nd U.S. Cavalry left the Falls Church area to launch the first major skirmish of the war against Confederate forces at Fairfax Court House.

After the Union defeat at the First Battle of Manassas (Bull Run) on June 21, Union troops withdrew from the area and Confederate picket lines slowly moved toward Washington. Confederate troops under the command of Col. J.E.B. Stuart occupied the Falls Church ridges, including Upton's and Munson's Hill.

On September 29, Union troops reoccupied the area of Falls Church. In the following months they built Forts Taylor, Buffalo, Munson and Ramsay on the highest points of land in the area. These forts were four to five miles west of the main line of defensive fortifications constructed to protect Washington, D.C. and functioned as early warning outposts.

The Falls Church, an Episcopal house of worship built in 1769, was used for a time in 1862 as a military stable while other churches were used as Union hospitals. Today, the Falls Church and 12 homes, including Cherry Hill, an 1845 farmhouse restored by the City of Falls Church in 1976, survive
Falls Church Map image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 12, 2007
2. Falls Church Map
Time has considerably changed Falls Church since the time of the war. Of the referenced pictures, only Cherry Hill Farm and the Falls Church serve as a reminders of the war.
from the Civil War.

Erected by Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 38° 52.522′ N, 77° 9.477′ W. Marker is in Falls Church, Virginia. Marker is on North Roosevelt Street, on the right when traveling east. Click for map. Located at a pull off just short of the entrance to Oakwood Cemetery. Marker is in this post office area: Falls Church VA 22046, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Taylorís Tavern (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Taylorís Tavern (within shouting distance of this marker); Fairfax Chapel (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Tallwood (about 700 feet away); Dulin Methodist Church (approx. 0.3 miles away); Fort Buffalo (approx. 0.4 miles away); Wrenís Tavern (approx. half a mile away); Turnpike Tollgate (approx. half a mile away). Click for a list of all markers in Falls Church.
More about this marker. A map on the right side has letters correlated to pictures on the marker:

(A)-Upper right side - a drawing showing "The Village of Falls Church - arrival of the 2nd U.S. Cavalry, Company B, Lieut. Tompkins, on
Markers at the North Edge of Oakwood Cemetery image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 12, 2007
3. Markers at the North Edge of Oakwood Cemetery
A Civil War Trails marker and a Falls Church city marker stand at the entrance to Fort Taylor Park. The park borders North Roosevelt and East Broad Street.
Wednesday morning June 19." from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, June 29, 1861.

(B)- Lower center - Drawing of "Skirmishes in 'The Battle of the Peach Orchard' near Munson's Hill continued daily with few casualties." from from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, September 21, 1861.

(C) - Upper right on map - Photograph of "Fort Ramsey on Upton's Hill, Massachusetts Heavy Artillery in 1863."

(D)-Upper part of map - "The Falls Church was used as a stable" from a Mathew Brady photo, 1862.

(E) - Lower part of map - Cherry Hill farmhouse.

See the related markers section below for some of the sites as they look today.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. To better understand the relationship, study each marker in the order shown.
Also see . . .
1. Historic Falls Church. (Submitted on October 8, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
2. Falls Church during the Civil War. Links to several secondary documents regarding the Civil War around Falls Church, and also a discussion of the "Battle of the Peach Orchard." (Submitted on October 8, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
Additional comments.
1. Civil War Forts in Falls Church
Federals erected several forts around Falls Church, in particular to guard the "Seven Corners" area. Some are mentioned on the marker.

Fort Ramsay (Present day 1100 block of John Marshall Drive)- Originally named Fort Upton for the hill and local property owner. It was occupied by two companies of the Massachusetts Heavy Artillery. Photographic evidence shows two heavy cannon (32 or 42-pdr) supported by at least two light field pieces.

Fort Buffalo (Sleepy Hollow Road and Arlington Boulevard) - Built by the 21st New York, named for Buffalo, N.Y. The Confederates briefly occupied the fort during 1861.

Fort Taylor (Broad and Roosevelt Streets) - Also built by the 21st New York, and named for a nearby tavern. The fort was armed with six field guns.

Fort Munson (Arlington Boulevard and Munson Drive) - Named after Daniel O. Munson, a local resident with Unionist sentiments.
In addition to the named forts, many rifle pits and field works were erected in the vicinity during the Civil War.
Source: Benjamin Franklin Cooling III and Walton H. Owen II, Mr. Lincoln's Forts: A Guide to the Civil War Defenses of Washington, Shippensburg, PA: White Mane Publishing Company, 1988
    — Submitted October 8, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.

Categories. War, US Civil
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 3,089 times since then and 121 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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