Here you will find articles written about events in Arlington and the area during the Civil War.
Military Operations in Northern Virginia in May-June 1861
Alexandria and Arlington were seized by Union forces May 24, 1861, the day after Virginia voted to secede. This article describes the first weeks of the occupation, as Union troops strove to control the area across the Potomac from Washington.
U.S. Balloon Corps in Action in Northern Virginia
The world’s first “air force” was the U.S. Balloon Corps, which started operations in Arlington. Tethered balloons carrying men aloft with telescopes proved useful in reconnoitering enemy movements.
Civil War Forts in Arlington
Washington was surrounded with forts to block the Confederate Army from seizing the capital city. Twenty-two of those forts were in Arlington. Arlington had two main roles in the war—guarding the capital through these forts; and serving as the main training center for the Army of the Potomac, which was based in the county.
Mrs. General Lee’s Attempts to Regain Her Possessions After the War
Arlington House was not owned by Robert E. Lee, but by his wife, known as “Mrs. General Lee." The entire estate was seized during the war and made into Arlington Cemetery. After the war, she tried to get back the land and all the family articles she had left in the house.
Freedman’s Village, Arlington, 1863-1900
During the war, the Union began setting up Freedman’s Villages, sites where newly freed slaves could live safely while receiving training they needed to be able to operate in a free society. The first Freedman’s Village was in Arlington.
Life in Alexandria County During the Civil War
Until 1920, Arlington County was named Alexandria County. This article gives an overview of how the county faired in the war.