“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 image. Click for full size.
November 6, 2010
1. Hangman's Tree Marker
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

Erected 1968 by Falls Church Historical Commission.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil.
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. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Falls Church VA 22046, United States of America. Touch for directions.
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
Hangman's Tree Marker image. Click for full size.
November 6, 2010
2. Hangman's Tree Marker
There is a “modern” oak tree to the left of the marker.
(approx. 0.2 miles away); The Story of Big Chimneys (approx. 0.2 miles away); City of Falls Church Veterans Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); Star Tavern (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Falls Church.
Also see . . .
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.

Hangman's Tree Marker image. Click for full size.
November 6, 2010
3. Hangman's Tree Marker
Mosby scholars say the story is a myth.
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)
    — Submitted July 23, 2014, by Brian Cubbage of Alexandria, Virginia.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on November 6, 2010. This page has been viewed 1,824 times since then and 102 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on November 6, 2010. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.
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