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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

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The Civil War in Arlington County

All-Day Tour

Saturday, November 9, 2019 - 10:15 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Code: 1ND006

Soldiers gathered near log block house near Fort Corcoran in Arlington, ca. 1862, Barnard & Gibson photographer (Library of Congress)

Northern Virginia's now-urbanized Arlington County was a rural area known as Alexandria County at the time of the Civil War. Its farms and orchards were home to a population of fewer than 1,500, the majority of whom were pro-Union. 

During the conflict between the states, however, this pastoral county on the doorstep of Washington, D.C., became an often-overlooked setting for the political power struggles engulfing the nation. The site of some 22 forts, the area was overrun with 150,000 Union troops encamped in the area at various times throughout the four-year period of the war.

After a presentation at the Ripley Center, historian Dakota Springston leads participants on a tour that focuses on life in Arlington County during and after the Civil War. Sites of many forts are viewed, and Springston points out the location of Mathew Brady’s photo “saloon,” where soldiers could have their tintypes made; homes that served as hospitals; a Confederate outpost; and the Reconstruction-era Freedmen’s Village.

Lunch at a local restaurant is included.

NOTE: Program begins at the Ripley Center, 1100 Jefferson Dr., SW, and continues by bus, returning to the Ripley Center at its conclusion. The bus makes one official Metro stop in Virginia to disembark before returning to the Mall.

S. Dillon Ripley Center
Room 3035
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)