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

Orange and Alexandria RR

Strategic Target

 
 
Orange and Alexandria RR - Strategic Target Marker image. Click for full size.
September 15, 2007
1. Orange and Alexandria RR - Strategic Target Marker
Inscription. The Lake Accotink access road here lies atop the original road bed of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, chartered in 1849 to link the port city of Alexandria with Gordonsville in central Virginia. After the war began in 1861, railroads became strategically important for the transportation of troops and supplies. Since this part of the Orange and Alexandria fell under Union control early in the war, the Confederates targeted it to disrupt the movement of Federal forces. During Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart’s December 28, 1862, raid on nearby Burke Station, he tore up rails and cut telegraph lines. He also dispatched twelve men under Gen. Fitzhugh Lee (Robert E. Lee’s nephew) to burn the wooden trestle over Accotink Creek. The trestle was repaired and carried Union supplies for the duration of the war. Maj. John S. Mosby’s Rangers and Confederate civilians continued to make nighttime raids, however, tearing up tracks and attempting to derail trains. The raiders often concealed themselves in drainage culverts beneath the rail bed while waiting to sabotage passing trains. After a derailment attempt failed on July 26, 1863, Union Gen. George G. Meade ordered civilian saboteurs severely punished. To protect the railroad, the 155th New York and 4th Delaware Regiments camped along the tracks here.

(Sidebar) The longest
Close-up of Map image. Click for full size.
September 15, 2007
2. Close-up of Map
continuous stretch of surviving Orange and Alexandria Railroad bed in Fairfax County runs through Lake Accotink Park. The park occupies land that was originally part of the 22,000-acre Ravensworth tract that William Fitzhugh purchased in 1685. The Fitzhugh’s were related to the Lees, who often visited Ravensworth. In 1829, Robert E. Lee’s mother died there. Two years later, Robert E. Lee married Mary Randolph Custis, and the couple honeymooned at Ravensworth. Mary Custis Lee inherited Ravensworth after the war and moved there after Robert E. Lee died in 1870. The Lees’ second son, William Henry Fitzhugh “Rooney” Lee, inherited the tract on her death in 1874. The house, built about 1796, burned in 1926.

(Sidebar)After his December 28, 1862, raid, Stuart and his men stopped at Sully Plantation in Western Fairfax County. To learn more about Sully’s role in the war, please visit the Sully Civil War Trails site.
 
Erected by Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, and the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 38° 47.553′ N, 77° 13.067′ W. Marker is in Springfield, Virginia, in Fairfax County. Marker is on Accotink Park Road, on the left when traveling east. Touch for map
View of Marker near modern bridge image. Click for full size.
September 15, 2007
3. View of Marker near modern bridge
. It is in Accotink Park in the main parking lot that sits in front of the Lake Accotink dam and the current railroad bridge. Marker is in this post office area: Springfield VA 22151, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Orange And Alexandria Railroad Trestle (here, next to this marker); The Origins of Lake Accotink (within shouting distance of this marker); The Civilian Conservation Corps (approx. 0.4 miles away but has been reported missing); Orange and Alexandria Railroad (approx. 0.6 miles away); Ravensworth (approx. 1.2 miles away); a different marker also named Ravensworth (approx. 1.2 miles away); Springfield Station (approx. 1.8 miles away); Keene’s Mill (approx. 2.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Springfield.
 
Categories. Railroads & StreetcarsWar, US Civil
 
View of modern bridge and dam from middle of Lake Accotink image. Click for full size.
September 15, 2007
4. View of modern bridge and dam from middle of Lake Accotink
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 28, 2007. This page has been viewed 2,204 times since then and 61 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on September 28, 2007. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.
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