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


Spies, Mosby and Marr

Fairfax - Spies, Mosby and Marr Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, October 14, 2006
1. Fairfax - Spies, Mosby and Marr Marker
On June 1. 1861, the first major skirmish of the Civil War occurred on the main street of Fairfax Court House. In the pre-dawn hours 50 men of Co. B, Second U.S. Cavalry, led by Lt. Charles H. Tomkins, rode into town firing their weapons. As Capt. John Quincy Marr, commander of the Warrenton Rifles, rallied his men against the Union attack, he was killed by a stray bullet—becoming the first Confederate officer to die in the war.

On March 9, 1863, Confederate Col. John S. Mosby and 29 of his rangers entered Fairfax and captured Union Gen. Edwin Stoughton while he slept at the Gunnell house. In this daring raid, Mosby also captured two captains, 30 privates and 58 horses. Learning of Stoughton's capture, President Abraham Lincoln remarked, “I don't care so much about the loss of the general, as I can make another with the stroke of a pen . . . but I sure hate to lose those horses.”

During the early years of the war, Fairfax resident Antonia Ford charmed soldiers from North and South with her beauty and conversation. Impressed with her ability to recall details from those conversations, Confederate Gen. J.E.B.
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Stuart presented her with a written commission “as my honorary aide-de-camp.” During a search of the Ford home, following Mosby's 1863 raid, Union officials discovered the commission and she was incarcerated as a Confederate spy in Old Capital Prison in Washington, D.C. While in prison Antonia stole the heart of Union Maj. Joseph C. Willard, who arranged her release from prison. They were later wed.
Erected by Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical month for this entry is March 1873.
Location. 38° 50.679′ N, 77° 18.03′ W. Marker is in Fairfax, Virginia. Marker is on Main Street (Virginia Route 236) west of Locust Street, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 10209 Main St, Fairfax VA 22030, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 5 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Historic Fairfax Elementary School (here, next to this marker); Harold's Court (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Richard Ratcliffe (about 800 feet away); Draper House (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named Draper House (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fairfax.
Also see . . .
Marker at Fairfax Museum and Visitors Center image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, October 14, 2006
2. Marker at Fairfax Museum and Visitors Center
 Skirmish at Fairfax Court House, June 1, 1861. (Submitted on October 15, 2006.)
Credits. This page was last revised on May 8, 2022. It was originally submitted on October 15, 2006, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 3,361 times since then and 39 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on October 15, 2006, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.

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Apr. 21, 2024