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


Alexandria in the Civil War

Alexandria in the Civil War Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, February 23, 2006
1. Alexandria in the Civil War Marker
Inscription.  “Alexandria is ours,” declared Col. Orlando Wilcox of the 1st Michigan Vol. Inf. as his regiment captured the city on the morning of May 24, 1861. When Virginia's vote of secession became effective, Union forces immediately crossed the Potomac River and occupied the Virginia shore. Due to its strategic location on the Potomac River just south of Washington, D.C., Alexandria became a prime Union occupation target.

During the capture of Alexandria, James W. Jackson, an ardent secessionist and the proprietor of Marshall House, fatally shot Union Col. Elmer E. Ellsworth as he removed a Confederate flag from the top of the hotel. In retaliation, a member of Ellsworth's 11th New York Zouave regiment killed Jackson. Both men became martyrs for their respective causes.

Alexandria's transformation from small southern town to military district took its toll on the city. Two-thirds of the population fled. Large private homes, churches and other public buildings were "requisitioned" to support the military occupation. The city became headquarters for the U.S. Military Railroad and one of the largest Union army hospital centers
Alexandria in the Civil War Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, March 1, 2008
2. Alexandria in the Civil War Marker
in the East. One of the first national cemeteries, established by an order of President Abraham Lincoln in February 1862, is located on Wilkes Street.

Alexandria would remain under Union control through late 1865, distinguishing it as the longest occupied territory of the Civil War. Today, many of the buildings that survived the four-year military occupation remain standing.
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 38° 48.401′ N, 77° 3.741′ W. Marker is in Alexandria, Virginia. Marker is at the intersection of Callahan Drive and King Street (Virginia Route 7), on the right when traveling north on Callahan Drive. Marker is in front of the Amtrak Station. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 110 Callahan Drive, Alexandria VA 22301, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 5 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. In Memory of Alexandria War Dead (a few steps from this marker); Original Federal Boundary Stone, District of Columbia, Southwest 2 (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Fighting Back (about 300 feet away); Visiting Old Town (about 400 feet away); The George Washington Masonic National Memorial
Marker at the Amtrack Station image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, March 1, 2008
3. Marker at the Amtrack Station
(about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Alexandria.
More about this marker. On the lower left is a wartime photo showing a View of Alexandria from Shuter's Hill. In the foreground is the camp of the 44th New York Infantry, "Ellsworth's Avengers." King Street is visible to the left and the U.S. Military Railroad Round House is visible near the center of the photo. (Photo credited to the National Archives.)

On the right is a photo of The Marshall House, which stood on the corner of King and South Pitt streets, was torn down in the 1950s. James W. Jackson (left insert) was killed by Union troops after he shot and killed Col. Elmer E. Ellsworth (right insert). Jackson's promise that the Confederate flag he raised over the hotel would be torn down "over his dead body" was fulfilled. Ellsworth became the first Union officer to die in the Civil War. (Photo of the Marshall House credited to the Library of Congress. Portrait of Ellsworth credited to Lloyd House, Alexandria Library. Portrait of Jackson from Ames Williams Collection, Lloyd House, Alexandria Library.)
Also see . . .  Notes and Images from the Civil War Occupation of Alexandria. from the diary of Henry B. Whittington. Project mounted by the Alexandria Library. (Submitted on March 12, 2006.) 
Categories. War, US Civil
Fort Ellsworth image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, March 1, 2008
4. Fort Ellsworth
One of the forts in the defenses of Washington, D.C. erected during the war, stood on the grounds of the George Washington Masonic National Monument. It was named Fort Ellsworth to honor Col. Elmer Ellsworth.

More. Search the internet for Alexandria.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on March 12, 2006, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. This page has been viewed 7,502 times since then and 88 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on March 12, 2006, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland.   2, 3, 4. submitted on March 1, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.
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