City of Alexandria, VA
Civilian laborers for the US Military Railroad in
Alexandria During the Civil War:
Witness to War and Reunion
The occupation of Alexandria by Union troops forever changed the social, cultural and economic fabric of the old seaport town. For four years Alexandria was an occupied city; enduring the longest military occupation by Union troops of any town during the conflict. The following resources provide some insight into the War and its effect on Alexandria and its inhabitants.
From the Historic Alexandria Website
- Alexandria during the Civil War: First Person Accounts.
- The Alexandria Slave Pen: The Archaeology of Urban Captivity, by Janice G. Artemel, Elzabeth A. Crowell and Jeff Parker. Engineering-Science, Inc., Washington, D.C., 1987.
- Antebellum Reminiscences of Alexandria, Virginia. Extracted from the Memoirs of Mary Louisa Slacum Benham
- Archaeology of the Bruin Slave Jail (Site 44AX0172), by Lisa Kraus, John Bedell and Charles LeeDecker. The Louis Berger Group, Inc., Washington, D.C., 2010.
- Civil War Crimean Ovens. Courtesy Alexandria Archaeology Museum
- Discovering the Decades: 1860s
- Fighting for Freedom: Black Union Soldiers of the Civil War. Courtesy Fort Ward Museum
- “A Loathsome Prison:” Slave Trading in Antebellum Alexandria. Lesson Plan: Teaching with Historic Places in Alexandria, Virginia.
- Highlights from the Collection: The Civil War. Courtesy Alexandria Archaeology Museum
- The History of Fort Ward
- Traveler's Accounts of the Historic Alexandria Waterfront (the 1860s)
- Volunteers for Freedom: Black Civil War Soldiers in Alexandria National Cemetery, Part I, by Edward A. Miller, Jr. Historic Alexandria Quarterly, Fall 1988.
- Volunteers for Freedom: Black Civil War Soldiers in Alexandria National Cemetery, Part II, by Edward A. Miller, Jr. Historic Alexandria Quarterly, Winter 1988
Back to Top
From the Alexandria Library: Local History/Special Collections
The Local HIstory/Special Collections section is located in the Barrett Library at 717 Queen Street. The library holds many interesting resources pertaining to the Civil War in Alexandria. Their Civil War holdings include history of all aspects of the conflict, with a focus on the Confederacy. Resources. This includes Virginia regimental histories; War of the Rebellion Official Record (the "OR"), which reproduces government documents dealing with the war; and information about Alexandria during the war.
Contact Special Collections about the following Civil War resources, and more.
- Battlefields of Virginia. The May 1887 excursion of the Civil War veterans of the 57th and 58th Massachusetts to the Civil War Battlefields of Virginia as documented in photos by Fred H. Foss.
- "...the frown of the citizens..." Notes and Images about the Civil War Occupation of Alexandria.
- Generals of the Confederacy. Thirty images, carte-de-visites (and more) from the White, Wellford, Taliaferro, and Marshall Families Collection.
- "Give oceans of love to all..." The prisoner-of-war letters of Brigadier General Montgomery Dent Corse, CSA, 17th Virginia Infantry to his wife, Elizabeth Beverley, along with his commission as Colonel, Active Volunteer Forces of Virginia, May 17, 1861, and his Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America, July 24, 1865. Selected from the Montgomery Dent Corse Collection.
Back to Top
From the Carlyle House
- The Occupation of Alexandria, VA during the Civil War. On May 23, 1861, Virginia voted to become the eighth state to secede from the Union. James Green (the son of the James Green who built the hotel in front of Carlyle House), who was living at the carlyle House at the time, described the event in his diary as "the most quiet election I ever saw in town." (Carlyle House Docent Dispatch, May 2011)
- Nurses, Spies and Soldiers: The Civil War at Carlyle House. The Mansion House Hospital, which incorporated the 1753 home of John Carlyle and the large building in front of it, was a place of strife and suffering during the Civil War. (Carlyle House Docent Dispatch, March 2011)
Back to Top
From the Friends of Freedmen's Cemetery
Visit the Friends of Freedmen's Cemetery for more historical resources.
Back to Top
From the National Trust for Historic Preservation
Back to Top
Publications of the Alexandria Historical Society
Visit the Alexandria Historical Society for more Alexandria history.
The Alexandria Chronicle
- The First Union Civil War Martyr: Elmer Ellsworth, Alexandria, and the American Flag, by Marc Leepson, Fall 2011
- The Civil War Comes to Duke Street, by Ted Pulliam, Fall 2011 (see page 5)
- "This Long Agony": A Test of Civilian Loyaties in an Occupied City, by Diane Riker, Spring #2 2011
- Volusia: A Farm and the People Who Lived There During the Civil War, by Amy Bertch, Spring #1 2011
- "Hessians in our midst:" Provost Duty in Alexandria 1861-62, the 88th Pennsylvania Volunteers, by Michael Ayoub, Fall 2008
- "Aunt Lindy" - A Former Slave Who Settled in Alexandria after the Civil War, by T. Michael Miller, Summer/Fall 2002 (see page 4)
- Mary Custis Lee--17th Virginia Regiment Chapter, UDC, Honors the Six Soldiers Buried in Its Confederate Plot at Bethel Cemetery in Alexandria , by Rebecca Hatchell Kusserow, Spring 2002 (see page 11)
- Kate Hooper: Alexandria's "Angel of Mercy" , by T. Michael Miller, Spring 2002 (see page 19)
- Edgar Warfield-Alexandria's Last Surviving Confederate Soldier, by T. Michael Miller, Spring 2001
- A Heroine on the Homefront: My Mother's Experience during the Civil War, by Ada Warfield Kurtz, 1907. Spring 2001 (see page 16)
- A View of Mr. Lincoln, by T. Michael Miller, Spring 2001 (see page 16)
- The Washington and Prince Street Military Prisons-Alexandria's Andersonville?, by T. Michael Miller, Winter 1999/2000
- The Anthony Burns Affair: Alexandria, Virginia Locals at the Center of National Debate over the Fugitive Slave Act during Violent Incidents in Boston, Massachusetts, by Cliff Johns, Fall 1999
- Vignettes from the Pages of the Alexandria Gazette: A Lone Indian. Alexandrians Used as Human Hostages on U.S. Military Railroad Trains. Negro Regiment Raised in Alexandria, Fall 1999 (see page 18)
- Alexandria and Northern Virginia in the Early National Period: The Paradox of Liberalism in a Slave Society, by A. Glenn Crothers, Summer 1999
- Civil War Vignettes, compiled by T. Michael Miller, Summer 1999 (see page 18)
- President Abraham Lincoln Reviews the Troops Near Shuter's Hill, by T. Michael Miller, Summer 1999 (see page 26)
- Recollections of the Early War between the States in Alexandria, Virginia,by A. J. Wickliffe, 1880, Spring 1997
- "Bandages and Broken Bones:" The Civil War Diary of Anne Reading, Introduction by Margaret Garrett Irving, Summer 1995
- United States Civil War Military Hospitals in Occupied Alexandria, Virginia, Summer 1995 (see page 21)
- President Lincoln's Railroad Car, by Robert Slusser, Spring 1995
Alexandria History Magazine
- Beleaguered Alexandria, 1861-1865, by James G. Barber, 1981
- "The Town Is Took:" McClellen's Troops on Seminary Hill by Cazenove G. Lee, 1981 (see page 11)
- Cazenove Lee Remembers Robert E. Lee, 1981 (see page 19)
Back to Top
Alexandria Archaeological Reports relating to the Civil War
- Battery Heights, 44AX186: Fiedel 2001
- Bontz Site/West End Village, United States Military Railroad Complex, 44AX103 and 105 (1989 Phase II investigation): Cromwell 1989
- Bontz Site/West End Village, Spring Garden Farms/United States Military Railroad Complex, 44AX103 and 105 (1989 Phase III investigation): Cromwell and Hills 1989
- Bush Hill, 44AX111: Gardner 1999 and Gardner 2002
- Calvert Custom Homes: Walters 2008
- Episcopal High School Faculty Housing, 44AX200: Balicki 2006
- Fannon Petroleum Fuel Company (2007 investigation): Bryant 2007
- Fort Ward, 44AX90: Larrabee 1961
- Franklin and Armfield Slave Pen/Alexandria Hospital, 44AX75: Artemel 1987
- 1400 Janney’s Lane, 44AX191: Jirikowic 2004
- Keith’s Wharf/Battery Cove/Ford’s Landing/”Old Ford Plant,” 44AX119: Artemel 1988 and Cheek 1986 and Engineering-Science 1993
- L’Ouverture Hospital/Shiloh Baptist Church: Traum 2007
- 1226 North Pegram Street, 44AX198: Balicki 2008
- Potomac Yard: Walker 1989
- Potomac Yard/Potomac Yard Center: Adams 1996
- Potomac Yard/Townes at Slater’s Village: Cheek 1996
- 206 North Quaker Lane, 44AX193: Jirikowic 2004
- Quaker Ridge, 44AX195: Balicki 2005
- Spring Garden/Old Town Village (1999 investigation): Gardner 1999
- Spring Garden/Southern Plaza/Old Town Village (1988 investigation): Seifert 1988
- Stonegate Parcel C (1996 investigation): Adams 1996
- Virginia Theological Seminary Faculty Housing, 44AX173a: Embrey 2005
- Weicking Property: Straka 2006
Back to Top