“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Springfield in Fairfax County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)


Temporary Safe Haven

Ravensworth Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, November 4, 2012
1. Ravensworth Marker
Inscription. The nearby Ravensworth mansion provided a safe haven for Mrs. Robert E. Lee (Mary Randolph Custis Lee) at the beginning of the Civil War. Constructed about 1796, Ravensworth was the home of Mrs. Lee’s widowed aunt, Anna Maria Fitzhugh. The newlywed Lees spent part of their honeymoon there in July 1831.

In May 1861, Gen. Robert E. Lee left his wife’s home, Arlington House, for Richmond to become commander of state troops and military advisor to Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Concerned for his wife’s safety so close to the U.S. capital, Lee urged her to move to her “Cousin Anna’s” home, Ravensworth. She was reluctant to go and later wrote, “I left my home in obedience to the wishes of my husband.” After less than a month, she left Ravensworth for other relatives’ homes after Lee wrote that her presence might imperil Mrs. Fitzhugh.

Mrs. Fitzhugh remained at Ravensworth throughout the war with a few slaves. The house and its occupants escaped “serious molestation,” although both armies seized some of the property’s resources. Federal soldiers cut wood there in February 1863. Confederate Maj. John Scott wrote that on August 23,1863, Confederate Maj. John S. Mosby and his rangers slept in a haystack there and in the morning were shocked to “find themselves in full
Ravensworth Markers image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, November 4, 2012
2. Ravensworth Markers
view of and close proximity to an encampment of Yankees.”

1 After Mrs. Fitzhugh died in 1874, the Lee children inherited Ravensworth. In 1877, the U.S. government rejected a claim from the estate for reimbursement for 3,000 pounds of hay seized during the war. The house burned in 1926.
Location. 38° 48.565′ N, 77° 13.252′ W. Marker is in Springfield, Virginia, in Fairfax County. Marker is on Port Roal Road just south of Braddock Road (County Route 620), on the right when traveling south. Click for map. Port Royal Road is on the west side of the intersection of Braddock Road and the Capital Beltway (Interstate 495). Marker is in this post office area: Springfield VA 22151, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A different marker also named Ravensworth (within shouting distance of this marker); The Origins of Lake Accotink (approx. 1.1 miles away); The Orange And Alexandria Railroad Trestle (approx. 1.2 miles away); Orange and Alexandria RR (approx. 1.2 miles away); The Civilian Conservation Corps (approx. 1.4 miles away but has been reported missing); Orange and Alexandria Railroad
Ravensworth image. Click for full size.
Delos Smith, Historic American Buildings Survey, 1933
3. Ravensworth
“Front elevation of Ravensworth plantation house.” Source: Library of congress Historic American Buildings Survey via Wikipedia Commons. Date of photograph must be in error.
(approx. 1.5 miles away); Mosby Attacks Annandale (approx. 1.7 miles away); Price’s Ordinary (approx. 1.9 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Springfield.
Categories. War, US Civil
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. This page has been viewed 596 times since then and 104 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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