Alexandria, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
The Civil War Comes to Alexandria
City of Alexandria Est. 1749
In 1860, Alexandria was a vibrant southern city boasting a population of 12,652 and 96 firms which produced everything from bark to tin-ware. During the U.S. Presidential campaign in the fall of 1860, business-minded Alexandrians were decidedly pro-Union and cast a majority of their ballots for John bell, the Constitutional Unionist candidate who opposed secession. Candidate Abraham Lincoln received only 2 votes.
In an effort to see that Virginia remained in the Union, Alexandrians elected George Brent, an opponent of secession as delegate to attend a meeting in Richmond to discuss the issues. But when South Carolina fired on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, and President Lincoln subsequently called for 75,000 troops to crush the rebellion, the mood of Alexandrians shifted dramatically from accommodation to war. On May 23, 1861, townsmen went to the polls and voiced their approval of the Virginia's articles of secession by an overwhelming vote of 958 in favor and 106 against.
Because of Alexandria's strategic importance as a railroad center and port, federal troops under the command of General Charles Sanford, of the
As federal forces entered Alexandria, townsmen of Virginia's 6th Battalion hastily assembled at Prince and S. Washington Streets before boarding a train for Manassas Junction. On July 10, 1861, these troops were activated into the 17th Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment, commanded by local hero Colonel Montgomery Corse. They fought with the Army of Northern Virginia, under General Robert E. Lee, from the Battle of First Manassas in 1861 through the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse in 1865 and suffered tremendous losses over four years of hard fighting.
Erected by City of Alexandria.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Railroads & Streetcars • War, US Civil • Waterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #16 Abraham Lincoln, and the Virginia, The City of Alexandria series lists. A significant historical date for this entry is April 12, 1861.
Location. 38° 48.321′ N, 77° 2.399′ W. Marker is in Alexandria, Virginia. Marker is at the intersection of North Union Street and Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 105 North Union Street, Alexandria VA 22314, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Torpedo Factory Art Center / United States Naval Torpedo Station (Building Two) (within shouting distance of this marker); Torpedo Factory Art Center (within shouting distance of this marker); Engin Artemel (within shouting distance of this marker); Living History (within shouting distance of this marker); Visiting Old Town (within shouting distance of this marker); Plundered! (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Alexandria (about 300 feet away); Submarine Screw (Propeller) (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Alexandria.
Credits. This page was last revised on September 1, 2021. It was originally submitted on April 1, 2018, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 426 times since then and 64 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on April 1, 2018, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.