For more information about Alexandria Civil War-oriented walking tours, call 888-458-6778.
Fort Ward Museum and Historic Site
4301 W Braddock Road, Alexandria VA 22304
One of the 68 forts that ringed the Federal capital has been restored and interpreted. A nearby museum offers excellent Civil War exhibits relating to Alexandria’s war-time experience and other topics.
This is the place to get oriented for a tour of Civil War fortifications in the Washington area. Restrooms, gift shop. Hours: Tuesday–Saturday 10 am–5 pm; Sunday noon-5 pm. Free, donations welcome.
To get there: From I-395, take the Seminary Road exit east. At the fourth traffic light, turn left (North Howard Street). Turn right on West Braddock Road. Look for park entrance almost immediately on the left.
1.6-acre park located at 6625 Fort Willard Circle, Alexandria VA 22307
One of the forts constructed in 1862 to protect the Federal capital. This preserved section represents the extreme southern defensive line of the city. Walking trail with interpretive signs.
Alexandria National Cemetery
1450 Wilkes St, Alexandria 22314
One of the earliest of the National Cemeteries, established as the Soldiers Cemetery in 1862.
City of Alexandria
Trails sign at the Amtrak Station
110 Callahan Drive, Alexandria VA 22301
Trails sign tells the story of the first officer killed in the war (Union Col. Elmer Ellsworth) and the initial Federal occupation of the city in 1861. A Civil War walking tour is available at the visitor center.
Arlington National Cemetery
and Arlington House
Arlington Hs Robert E. Lee left his home in Arlington and his long career in the Federal army to take command of Virginia forces in April 1861. Union soldiers occupied his estate a month later. In 1864, burials of Union soldiers began on the grounds and by the end of the war 16,000 graves scarred the lawn and gardens of Lee’s former home. Today Arlington National Cemetery is studded with famous memorials including the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the graves of John F. and Robert Kennedy. A small section is devoted to the remains of Confederate dead. Another section (27) is dedicated to the United States Colored Troops and residents of the Freedman’s Village.
Don’t miss the self-guided tour of the restored Arlington House (Lee’s home).
Admission is free but there is a parking charge. Save time and shoe leather; buy a tour bus ticket. The cemetery is open daily 8 am–7 pm April–September. It closes at 5 pm other months. Arlington House is open 9:30 am-4:30 pm.
Trails sign in Foxcroft Heights Park, Southgate Road and South Oak Street, Arlington VA 22211
Refugee slaves made their way to the Washington area after the outbreak of the war. The government selected this site to house and educate them. Graves of the Freedman’s Village residents are located in Section 27. Civil War Trails interpretation located in Soxcroft Heights Park (corner of Oak Street and Southgate Road) overlooking Arlington National Cemetery.
Fort C.F. Smith
2411 N 24th St, Arlington VA 22207
Well-preserved Union fortification built in 1863 to extend the Arlington defenses to the Potomac River. Nice county park. Call for programs. Civil War Trails interpretation.
Fort Ethan Allen
Trails sign in Fort Ethan Allen Park, 311 Old Glebe Road, Arlington VA 22207
Built in 1861 to command approaches to the Chain Bridge over the Potomac into Washington, this is a companion fortification to Fort Marcy (Fairfax County), on the Washington Parkway. Historical marker and school parking lot at the south face of the fort. Civil War Trails interpretation located near the south face of the fort past the soccer fields.
Trails sign located near pull-off
North Roosevelt Street and Ridge Place
Falls Church VA 22046
Material here highlights first Union occupation of this once-small farm town and the balloon ascensions here by the famed Thaddeus Lowe.
The Falls Church
Trails sign at 115 E Fairfax St, Falls Church VA 22046
The war temporarily ruined this 1769 church as Union forces based in the area used the building at a hospital and stable. Soldiers vandalized the interior, stripping the furnishings and leaving graffiti. The congregation formally returned to the church in 1873.
Harriet & George Brice
Trails sign at 115 E Fairfax St, Falls Church VA 22046
Harriett Brice, a “free woman of color” purchased land in 1864 and lived here with her husband, George, a former slave and member of the United States Colored Troops. They struggled during the war and suffered losses from troops camping in the area.
Falls Church Home Front (Cherry Hill Farm)
Trails sign at 312 Park Ave, Falls Church VA 22046
Because of Northern migration to the area before the war, the citizens of Falls Church were mixed in their loyalties. The area twice voted against secession. The residents of Cherry Hill Farm lost crops and livestock to both armies during the war, but the estate survived intact.
Galloway Methodist Church
Trails sign at 306 Annandale Road, Falls Church VA 22042
A Trails sign here describes the history of many of the “residents” of this African-American cemetery, established in 1867. Many of those interred here served as members of the United States Colored Troops or Home Guard. Eliza Henderson walked to Falls Church from Vicksburg MS, escaping slavery and rejoining her family.
Living in Fear
Trails sign at 44 W Broad St, Falls Church VA 22046
Confederate ranger Col. John Singleton Mosby conducted raids on Falls Church through the summer and fall of 1864. During a raid Oct. 17, 1864, Mosby’s men shot and killed Frank Brooks and kidnapped and later killed abolitionist John Read.
Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center
10209 Main St., Fairfax City VA 22030
Exhibits here outline the rich history of the city with some emphasis on the Civil War. Nearby Chantilly battlefield is highlighted. Restrooms and shop. General travel information available. Open daily 9 am-5 pm. Free, donations welcome. Saturday morning walking tours featuring Civil War sites in old Fairfax are scheduled some months. Civil War Trails interpretation.
Civil War Interpretive Center at Historic Blenheim
3610 Old Lee Highway, Fairfax VA 22030-1804
This 1855 home was shelter and hospital for soldiers during the Civil War. Many left their names, poetry and art behind on the walls, creating one of the finest collections of Civil War graffiti in the country. The interpretive center highlights the history of the house and Civil War Fairfax. Open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 am-3 pm. Daily house tour at 1 pm. Free.
Battle of Ox Hill (Chantilly)
Ox Hill Battlefield
4134 West Ox Road, Fairfax VA 22033
(Just south of Monument Drive)
A small but excellent park located a short distance south of US 50 is devoted to the Sept. 1, 1862, battle that immediately followed the Second Battle of Manassas. Stonewall Jackson’s attempt to block the Federal retreat toward Washington was turned back here in a driving thunderstorm. The Union army lost two generals during the battle, Phillip Kearney and Isaac Stevens. Monuments to both generals are located along a paved pathway as well as excellent interpretive displays and signs. The 4.9-acre park represents only a tiny piece of this battlefield, now surrounded by modern development; but a kiosk near the parking lot does a good job setting the scene. A modern aerial photograph with troop movement overlays is especially helpful.
Animated map from Civil War Preservation Trust
Site of Reid-Ballard House
Trails sign near intersection of Cedar Lakes Drive and Cannon Ridge Court, Fairfax VA 23033 (about 1/4 mile south of the battlefield park, turn west on Cedar Lakes Drive)
Union soldiers moved through here on their way to attack Jackson’s troops during the Ox Hill (Chantilly) battle. Federal artillery supported the effort from this vicinity.
Parking lot off north-bound George Washington Parkway near Route 123
703-289-2500 (George Washington Parkway Park Service)
Part of the Washington defenses, these earthworks were built in 1861 to protect the Potomac River crossing at Chain Bridge. The fort boasted 17 guns and three mortars and was named for Gen. Randolph Marcy, Gen. George McClellan’s chief of staff. A trail connects several hundred yards of well interpreted and preserved earthworks maintained by the National Park Service. Companion fort to Ethan Allen. See Arlington County.
St. Marys Church
5222 Sideburn Road, Fairfax VA 22032
Civil War Trails sign at this 1858 church describes the action here Aug. 8, 1864 when Confederate horsemen led by John Singleton Mosby routed a Union cavalry encampment.
11200 Fairfax Station Road, Fairfax 22039
Call 703-425-9225 before you visit
Trails sign at station. Nurse Clara Barton played a role here as the wounded streamed in after the Second Battle of Manassas. Countless Union soldiers guarded the Orange and Alexandria Railroad stop against raids by JEB Stuart and JS Mosby. Building now houses the Fairfax Station Railroad Museum, open most Sundays 1–4 pm. Includes Civil War history.
3650 Historic Sully Way, Chantilly VA 20151
This late-18th-century estate, established by Richard Bland Lee (Robert E. Lee’s uncle), offers tours of the nicely preserved house and outbuildings. The estate was visited by troops of both sides during the war. The men of the Union-favoring family often fled to Alexandria, escaping capture by Confederate visitors, leaving the estate’s management to the women during much of the war. Pick up a Civil War-oriented flyer with your ticket. Some Civil War material and exhibits offered during tours of the 1794 home. Open every day except Tuesday 11 am–4 pm. $6/adult.
11919 Leesburg Pike, Dranesville VA 22066
This 1820 roadside inn was in no man’s land between armies in the winter of 1861. On Dec 20, Union infantry and Confederate cavalry and infantry clashed here. Both sides withdrew from the area after the battle, but the Federals claimed a tactical victory, lifting their morale after the disaster at First Manassas.
Orange and Alexandria RR
Trails sign in Lake Accotink Park, 7500 Accotink Park Road, Springfield VA 22150
The park’s access road lies on top of the original roadbed of the strategic Orange and Alexandria Railroad. The area was occupied early by Federal troops, but the railroad continued to be the target of frequent Confederate raids.
Trails sign located at 8100 Braddock Road, Springfield VA 22151
Mrs. Robert E. Lee (Mary Custis Lee) stayed here briefly in May 1861 after the family left Arlington House. The 1796 structure was home to Mrs. Lee’s aunt, Anna Maria Fitzhugh, who stayed in the house throughout the war. The home escaped “serious molestation” during the war. It burned in 1925.
Trails sign located at the Mason District Park, 6621 Columbia Pike, Annandale VA 22003
Good views of the nearby roads made this area important to both sides early in the war. Confederate Col. J.E.B. Stuart’s men occupied the area following the First Battle of Manassas in 1861. The signal towers here could view Washington, and the citizens of Washington could see a Confederate flag flying at this forward outpost. Following the Union occupation of the area in the late fall, new Federal commander Gen. George McClellan staged a grand review near here Nov. 20, 1861.
Trails sign located at 7140 Main St, Clifton VA 20124
This station (no longer standing) was located on a wartime siding of the Orange & Alexandria Railroad that supplied wood to fuel trains running on the important line. The railroad drove deep into Central Virginia, giving easy access to Union troops and supplies. The O&A was also the target of frequent Confederate raids.
St. John’s Episcopal Church
Trails sign located at 5649 Mount Gilead Road, Centreville VA 20122
War was hard on this little church located between Washington DC and Manassas Junction. Confederates occupying the area following the Battle of First Manassas found the building covered with drawings and insults to the Confederacy. Federals blamed Confederates for desecrations to the church before the battle. The church and many more buildings in the area were destroyed during the war. St. John’s was rebuilt in 1872.
Historic Cemeteries (Flint Hill Cemetery)
Trails sign located at the Oakton Church of the Brethren, 10025 Courthouse Road, Vienna VA 22124
Many of the area’s most prominent war-era figures from both sides are buried in these cemeteries. At least 26 Civil War soldiers are buried at Flint Hill, including four of Confederate John S. Mosby’s Partisan Rangers. The Oakton Church of the Brethren was built in 1902 on top of a Confederate fort.
Freedom Hill Redoubt
Trails sign located in Freedom Hill Park, 200 Old Courthouse Road NE, Vienna VA 22182
One of Fairfax County’s earliest free black communities was established here in the 1840s. During the war the area was part of the Washington defenses. Small artillery redoubts (such as the one here) were constructed by Union forces in this part of the line.
Battle of Lewinsville
Trails sign located in Lewinsville Park, 1659 Old Chain Bridge Road, McLean VA 22101
On Sept. 11, 1861, Union engineers protected by 1,800 soldiers, were attacked by a small force of Confederate cavalry and artillery. The surveyors were exploring an occupation site in what was then no-man’s land. Casualties in the small fight were light and the engineers and their escort returned to camp.
Trails sign located at 11305 Stone House Place, Great Falls VA 22066
Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart’s command passed by this spot on the way north June 27, 1863. The soldiers were headed for the nearby Potomac River crossing at Rowser’s Ford following a fight at Fairfax Court House. Stuart’s march ended badly when he arrived too late to be much help during the battle of Gettysburg.
Rose Hill Raid
Trails sign 6209 Rose Hill Drive, Alexandria VA 22310
On Sept. 28, 1863, raiders under Confederate Maj. John S. Mosby raided Rose Hill, which stood near here. Col. Daniel Dulany, aide to Francis H. Pierpont, the provisional governor of the Restored Government of Virginia, was in his house at the time and was captured by Mosby. One of the raider’s men was Dulany’s own son.
9301 Richmond Hwy, Lorton VA 22079
This historic 1774 church associated with George Washington was a target for occupation and vandalism during the war. Thaddeus S.C. Lowe used the church grounds as a balloon launching site, keeping track of Confederate movements in the area.
Wolf Run Shoals
Trails sign at 8590 Wolf Run Shoals Road, Clifton VA 20124
Both armies used this crossing of the Occoquan River during the war. Elements of the Union army crossed here on their way south to Fredericksburg in December 1862 and more Federal soldiers crossed here on their way north to what was to be the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. J.E.B. Stuart’s Confederate cavalry followed shortly after.
Burke’s Station (Teamsters & Woodcutters)
Trails sign at 9501 Old Burke Lake Road, Burke VA 22015
Wood was a much-needed commodity during the war, especially for railroad construction and repair. Thousands of acres of woods were cut down in the county to aid the Union cause, much of it cut by former slaves. A siding near here on the Orange & Alexandria Railroad was constructed to facilitate the shipment of the wood to Alexandria.
Elden Street (Route 228) and Station Street, Herndon, Fairfax County, VA 20170
Story here about a March 1863 raid by famous Confederate partisan John Singleton Mosby against this lightly protected rail station. Mosby’s action captured dozens of prisoners and forced Union outposts to move closer to Washington.
The following Vienna sites are marked with Civil War Trails interpretation:
Sign at 10401 Hunter Station Road, Vienna VA 22181
For four days in March 1862, the 15,000 men of the Pennsylvania Reserves camped here and nearby. They remained near Hunter’s Mill until ordered to move out to participate in what became the Peninsula Campaign. The area, along the recently completed Alexandria, Loudoun and Hampshire Railroad, changed hands several times during the war.
131 Church St NE, Vienna VA 22180
Trails sign here tells the story of the role of this site, used by Union and Confederate troops, and directs visitors to other historic sites.
Civil War Fort
330 Center St N, Vienna VA 22180
Star-shaped Civil War fortification is of undermined heritage but is one of many unidentified field works in the hotly contested Northern Virginia area. 703-938-9535 (Legion phone number).