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MARKER DATABASE
“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)
 

Hangman's Tree

 
 
Hangman's Tree Marker Photo, Click for full size
November 6, 2010
1. Hangman's Tree Marker
Inscription.
On this site stood the

Hangman's Tree

According to legend, an old oak
used by Col. Mosby to hang Union
spies after the Battle of
The Peach Orchard during the
Civil War.

The tree was removed 1968.
Marker by the Falls Chruch
Historical Commission
1968

 
Erected 1968 by Falls Church Historical Commission.
 
Location. 38° 53.113′ N, 77° 10.527′ W. Marker is in Falls Church, Virginia. Marker is at the intersection of West Broad Street (Virginia Route 7) and North Virginia Avenue, on the right when traveling north on West Broad Street. Click for map. 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. Virginia Training School (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Cherry Hill (about 500 feet away); Falls Church Home Front (about 600 feet away); Living in Fear (about 700 feet away); Big Chimneys (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Story of Big Chimneys (approx. 0.2 miles away); Star Tavern (approx. 0.3 miles away); Henderson House (approx. 0.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Falls Church.
 
Also see . . .
Hangman's Tree Marker Photo, Click for full size
November 6, 2010
2. Hangman's Tree Marker
There is a “modern” oak tree to the left of the marker.

1. The Battle of the Peach Orchard. Falls Church Village Preservation and Improvement Society (Submitted on November 6, 2010.) 

2. Falls Church History: The Hangman’s Tree. Falls Church Times, July 5, 2009. (Submitted on November 6, 2010.) 
 
Additional comments.
1. The Battle of the Peach Orchard
According to local tradition, there was a Civil War skirmish in a nearby Cherry Hill Farm peach orchard.
    — Submitted November 6, 2010.

2. Chronology Problem with the Marker
The "Battle of the Peach Orchard" was a running 2-3 month skirmish between Union and Confederate pickets in the peach orchards on Munson's Hill between the time of the Union retreat from Manassas in July 1861, and the Confederate withdrawal from Northern Virginia to Centreville in September 1861.

Mosby organized his rangers in 1863, after the CSA Partisan Ranger Act of 1862, i.e., Mosby couldn't have been hanging "spies" from trees in Falls Church in 1861 after Johnston ordered the withdrawal to Centreville in September 1861. So, the "legend" referenced in the marker is just that: a legend.

There was definitely a big tree there, however. A picture from the 1940s is available here, and it was clearly a very, very big tree (see "Falls Church History: The Hangman’s Tree" link above)
Hangman's Tree Marker Photo, Click for full size
November 6, 2010
3. Hangman's Tree Marker
Mosby scholars say the story is a myth.
    — Submitted July 23, 2014, by Brian Cubbage of Alexandria, Virginia.

 
Categories. War, US Civil
 

 
Credits. This page originally submitted on November 6, 2010. This page has been viewed 1,282 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on November 6, 2010. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.
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