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

Fairfax

Spies, Mosby and Marr

 
 
Fairfax - Spies, Mosby and Marr Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, October 14, 2006
1. Fairfax - Spies, Mosby and Marr Marker
Inscription. 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. 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
Marker at Fairfax Museum and Visitors Center image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, October 14, 2006
2. Marker at Fairfax Museum and Visitors Center
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.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
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 in this post office area: Fairfax VA 22030, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 5 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Historic Fairfax Elementary School (here, next to this marker); Draper House (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named Draper House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Ratcliffe-Allison House (Earp’s) (approx. ¼ mile away); Pozer Garden (was approx. ¼ mile away but has been reported missing. ). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fairfax.
 
Also see . . .
1. Skirmish at Fairfax Court House, June 1, 1861. (Submitted on October 15, 2006.)
2. The Capture of Baron Rudolph de Wardener. "The Austrian Tangles with the Gray Ghost." 2006 article by Page Johnson in the Fairfax County, Virginia South County Chronicle. Mosby also captured an Austrian Baron visiting General Stoughton. (Submitted on November 3, 2006.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 15, 2006, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. This page has been viewed 2,850 times since then and 97 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on October 15, 2006, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia.
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