Lorton in Fairfax County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Civil War Balloon Outpost
Within two months, the church became a balloon outpost for Thaddeus S.C. Lowe, the famous aeronaut, and the building served as quarters for the garrison stationed here. The men’s graffiti is still visible on the church walls, doorposts, and quoins, as are bullet holes on the exterior brick.
At this location, Lowe repeatedly launched his balloon, Intrepid, to track Confederate troop movements along the Occoquan River. On March 2, 1862, he observed the Confederates evacuating the Occoquan area – the first indication that they were withdrawing from northern Virginia to a more defensible position along the Rappahannock River. Later and elsewhere, Lowe’s aeronauts successfully located Confederate forces, reported on force strength, and directed artillery fire. Lowe’s earliest successes for the short-lived Federal Balloon Corps, which disbanded a year-and-a-half later, occurred here at Pohick Church.
(Sidebar): Completed in 1774, this colonial church replaced a wooden building located two miles south of here. The congregation had been founded by 1732, when the Virginia House of Burgesses created the geographical district of Truro Parish north of the Occoquan River. For this reason, Pohick Church is often referred to as “the Mother Church of Northern Virginia.” Vestry members George Washington and George Mason, among other patriots, met at Pohick Church in 1774 for early discussions of the Fairfax Resolves, a step on the road to independence. Because of Washington’s membership here, the British reportedly raided the church during the War of 1812 and disfigured a memorial to our nations’ first president.
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 38° 42.547′ N, 77° 11.595′ W. Marker is in Lorton, Virginia, in Fairfax County. Marker is at the intersection of Richmond Highway (U.S. 1) and Old Colchester Road (Virginia Route 611), on the right when traveling north on Richmond Highway. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 9301 Richmond Highway, Lorton VA 22079, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Old Telegraph Line (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Pohick Church (here, next to this marker); The Herris Stone (within shouting distance of this marker); Wagener (within shouting distance of this marker); Noman Monroe Cole, Jr. (approx. 0.9 miles away); Lorton Station (approx. 1.1 miles away); Joseph W. Jordan (approx. 1.2 miles away); Mount Air Historic Site (approx. 1.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lorton.
More about this marker. The lower left of the marker displays a painting captioned Pohick Church, painted by Union Pvt. Robert K. Sneden when he was posted here in
Also see . . .
1. Pohick Episcopal Church. National Register of Historic Places Inventory - Nomination Form (Submitted on May 4, 2013.)
2. Professor Thaddeus Lowe. (Submitted on May 4, 2013.)
3. History of Pohick Church. (Submitted on May 4, 2013.)
Categories. • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 4, 2013. This page has been viewed 1,134 times since then and 100 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on May 4, 2013. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.