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

Pohick Church

Civil War Balloon Outpost

 
 
Pohick Church Marker image. Click for full size.
May 4, 2013
1. Pohick Church Marker
Inscription. During the Civil War, the prominent hilltop location of Pohick Church made it a target for occupation and vandalism, but it also served as an aeronautical center. On November 12, 1861, Union Gen. Samuel P. Heintzelman’s 2nd Michigan Volunteers raided the church. One of those present, Lt. Charles B. Haydon, was outraged at the soldiers’ looting of artifacts from George Washington’s church: “They were all over it in less than 10 minutes tearing off the ornaments, splitting the woodwork and pews, knocking the brick to pieces & everything else they could get at.”

Within two months, the church became a balloon outpost for Thaddeus S.C. Lowe, the famous aeronaut, and the building served as quarters for the garrison stationed here. The men’s graffiti is still visible on the church walls, doorposts, and quoins, as are bullet holes on the exterior brick.

At this location, Lowe repeatedly launched his balloon, Intrepid, to track Confederate troop movements along the Occoquan River. On March 2, 1862, he observed the Confederates evacuating the Occoquan area – the first indication that they were withdrawing from northern Virginia to a more defensible position along the Rappahannock River. Later and elsewhere, Lowe’s aeronauts successfully located Confederate forces, reported on force strength, and directed artillery
Pohick Church Marker image. Click for full size.
May 4, 2013
2. Pohick Church Marker
fire. Lowe’s earliest successes for the short-lived Federal Balloon Corps, which disbanded a year-and-a-half later, occurred here at Pohick Church.

(Sidebar): Completed in 1774, this colonial church replaced a wooden building located two miles south of here. The congregation had been founded by 1732, when the Virginia House of Burgesses created the geographical district of Truro Parish north of the Occoquan River. For this reason, Pohick Church is often referred to as “the Mother Church of Northern Virginia.” Vestry members George Washington and George Mason, among other patriots, met at Pohick Church in 1774 for early discussions of the Fairfax Resolves, a step on the road to independence. Because of Washington’s membership here, the British reportedly raided the church during the War of 1812 and disfigured a memorial to our nations’ first president.
 
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 38° 42.547′ N, 77° 11.595′ W. Marker is in Lorton, Virginia, in Fairfax County. Marker is at the intersection of Richmond Highway (U.S. 1) and Old Colchester Road (Virginia Route 611), on the right when traveling north on Richmond
Pohick Church image. Click for full size.
May 4, 2013
3. Pohick Church
Highway. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 9301 Richmond Highway, Lorton VA 22079, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Old Telegraph Line (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Pohick Church (here, next to this marker); The Herris Stone (within shouting distance of this marker); Wagener (within shouting distance of this marker); Noman Monroe Cole, Jr. (approx. 0.9 miles away); Lorton Station (approx. 1.1 miles away); Joseph W. Jordan (approx. 1.2 miles away); Mount Air Historic Site (approx. 1.4 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Lorton.
 
More about this marker. The lower left of the marker displays a painting captioned Pohick Church, painted by Union Pvt. Robert K. Sneden when he was posted here in 1862. - Courtesy Virginia Historical Society. The upper left of the marker has a map captioned Map of Pohick Church area Courtesy Virginia Historical Society and a portrait captioned Thaddeus S.C. Lowe Courtesy Library of Congress.
 
Also see . . .
1. Pohick Episcopal Church. National Register of Historic Places Inventory - Nomination Form (Submitted on May 4, 2013.) 

2. Professor Thaddeus Lowe
Close-up of map on marker image. Click for full size.
May 4, 2013
4. Close-up of map on marker
. (Submitted on May 4, 2013.)
3. History of Pohick Church. (Submitted on May 4, 2013.)
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Close-up of Sneden water-color on marker image. Click for full size.
May 4, 2013
5. Close-up of Sneden water-color on marker
19th century graffiti at Pohick Church image. Click for full size.
May 4, 2013
6. 19th century graffiti at Pohick Church
Civil War graffiti and sword marks at Pohick Church image. Click for full size.
May 4, 2013
7. Civil War graffiti and sword marks at Pohick Church
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on . This page has been viewed 898 times since then and 110 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on . • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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