150 years ago {April 19th, 1861}

by Cindy on April 19, 2011

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I am always fascinated to learn more about the rich history all around our home here in Virginia.  We frequently make trips to Maryland and Pennsylvania, often seeing places of Civil War significance.  I’m especially excited when we can visit a place that we have never visited before.  We had that opportunity when when the Boy Scouts group visited the Arlington House at Arlington National  Cemetery.   Our visit was planned precisely at the 150th anniversary of Robert E. Lee’s “Great Decision” .   In April 1861, Lee made what is known as “the most pivotal decision in the Civil War”.  When his home state of Virginia seceded, Lee resigned from the U.S. Army (he had been offered command of Union forces) and supported the Confederacy.
The Arlington House, with 8 columns on the portico

The Arlington House, with 8 columns on the portico

The history of the Arlington House is incredibly interesting. If you have the time, please visit the link above to learn all about this famous home.  The house was constructed and owned by George Washington’s adopted grandson, George Washington Parke Custis.  Apparently Custis inherited the 1,100 acres of land when he was just 3.  The Greek Revival-style home took 16 years to complete and is noted for its grand portico columns.  Robert E. Lee married the Custis’ only surviving child, Mary Anna Randolph Custis, who was given the right to inhabit and control the house for the remainder of her life.  The Arlington House was the Lee’s home for 30 years, and 6 of his 7 children were born there in the dressing room off of the master bedroom. While walking through the house, I read a interesting tidbit – that Lee regularly picked a rose from the garden to place at his wife and daughter’s setting at breakfast.  To learn in detail how Arlington National Cemetery developed at the Arlington House grounds, read here.  It really is a fascinating history.  I hope to return again soon, as we took the 7:00 pm tour and it became too dark to see many details (such as Union soldier’s signatures and “graffiti” written on the attic rafters).  Most of the furniture was removed as well for an ongoing renovation.  I’d love to see the period furniture in this setting!

View of DC from The Arlington House

View of DC from The Arlington House

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Have a great week and thanks for stopping by!

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Brandi April 19, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Cindy, these posts call to the history buff in me! Every time you post one, I feel this instant need to go see everything you’re talking about. I feel like planning a trip to DC, stat!

Lana April 19, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Hi Cindy, where have you been i’ve missed you although i havn’t been on much either here and there to check in on my fab 5(one of them you) my son has a terrible hockey injury completly tore two of the ligiments in his ankle in a hockey game we see an ortho surgeon tom. in London Ontario same place nhl’ers go which makes me feel a bit better Jack is an amzing hockey and football player this coming season he was suppose to be starting offence on the sr. team at high school a time when scouts are looking for colleges and univ. for scholarships he may b out an entire season in both. Anyway back to your post i am always fasinated by the history of our world when we travel I-75 from Det. to Florida we take a book called along I-75 this fellow & his wife travel this rount 15 to 20 times to publish a new copy bi-yearly there is an entire history lesson in the middle of this book as you travel up the hyw. he refers you to certain pages and will tell you what happened on that strech like going back to the 1400’s the book is actually designed with women friendly maps each page is a 1/2 strech of hyw going top to bottom and he has it laid out so you know what is at each exit on both side of the hwy hotel,gas,food and even hot spot for radar even little back road places that you would never find ma &pa type places little eclectic shops, haunted house etc. it’s the coolest book ever. I’m also so excited i have posted my very first pick of something i made for the 7000 bracelets of hope i made a little money with my earrings in a hair salon & finally got a camera only thing i couldn’t figure out how to get pics from camera to computer to blog and still can’t my son borrowed a camera from a friend just so i could post my pic for the blog challenge that Miss Lori organized speaking of Lori i’m so very sad 🙁 she is not well i know it might seem silly to be so fond of someone i have never even met but she is such a kind and sweet women how could you not that goes for you as well i really hope she get better really soon she certainly does not deserve to be having all these problems and those dang migranes sorry this is so long just havn’t bloged with you in a while take care and group hugs for Miss Lori ttfn L:)

Melissa M April 19, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Thanks for the history lesson! We have been to Arlington Cemetary so many times (J’s Dad is buried there), but have never toured Arlington House. We have to do more this spring and summer! I followed that link and have had to save it, it is chocked full of interesting stuff! Your boys are so cute in their Civil War getups 🙂 On an aside – I am singing for Tenebrae, Holy Thursday, Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday at St. John’s if you are interested!

Laura Twiford April 19, 2011 at 2:42 pm

I too love history and several years ago did redware dolls ( circa 1850) for my annual 4th of july Fire-works firing which I then made dresses for out of civil war reproduction fabrics and placed hangtags with pix of 2 of my ancestors on the dresses. One was a great great great grandfather, Thomas McKernan who carried the colors for the North and was captured and imprisoned at Libby prison. The other was Lt. Col. George Arrowsmith of the 157th Regiment of the NY State Volunteers who was shot and killed in gettysburg on the first day of battle 7-1-1863 and who’s name is listed on the monument there. My dad’s middle name is Arrowsmith in his honor. As I look at the pix of your son in uniform can you just imagine what it was like back then as mother’s sent their young sons off to that terrible war?

LeAnn April 19, 2011 at 3:46 pm

This is fascinating. I really like how you have shared so many of your trips to historical sites and places. Thank you!

Sally Anderson April 19, 2011 at 4:55 pm

Hi Cindy, Once again you’ve brought out some great memories! When we lived in Arlington we always had visitors and could usually send them off to do the tourist things on the subway but 2 places needed us to take them. Arlington House & Mount Vernon. At the time, the person in charge of Arlington House was a good friend of ours (she has since retired) so she would give our out-of-towners the cook’s tour! She was responsible for acquiring a lot of the authentic furniture (she’s such a historian that she tracked stuff down, visited people who had inherited all this old stuff and got them to give it back to the Custis-Lee Mansion, Arlington House!). I love standing up there and looking over Washington. If you aren’t patriotic, that view can make you patriotic! Your kids are adorable and I love that they’re learning all this really important stuff!

sandra April 19, 2011 at 6:53 pm

i love visiting historic places! great photos and your sons are so cute.

Janet McDonald April 20, 2011 at 5:46 pm

I know your boys are just loving all of these great things and places!
Excellent parents make really well rounded kids~adults. You and husb
are wonderful parents. Virginia is so awesome such a beautiful place
and so much to offer! My Mom and brother are in Charlottesville and
there are never a shortage of places to go to like the Amish in Waynesboro,
waterfalls in different places, winerys etc etc. Virginias the Best! Great post
Cindy, Ill take a rose every morning from my husband! Your children are
beautiful!

Deryn Mentock April 20, 2011 at 8:16 pm

Oh, I would LOVE to see Arlington House while I’m there in Sept. I’ll have to plan a tour!

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