Orange and Alexandria RR

Orange and Alexandria RR (HM16B)

Location: West Springfield, VA 22152 Fairfax County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 47.553', W 77° 13.067'

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Strategic Target

The Lake Accotink access road here lies atop the original road bed of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, chartered in 1849 to link the port city of Alexandria with Gordonsville in central Virginia. After the war began in 1861, railroads became strategically important for the transportation of troops and supplies. Since this part of the Orange and Alexandria fell under Union control early in the war, the Confederates targeted it to disrupt the movement of Federal forces. During Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart's December 28, 1862, raid on nearby Burke Station, he tore up rails and cut telegraph lines. He also dispatched twelve men under Gen. Fitzhugh Lee (Robert E. Lee's nephew) to burn the wooden trestle over Accotink Creek. The trestle was repaired and carried Union supplies for the duration of the war. Maj. John S. Mosby's Rangers and Confederate civilians continued to make nighttime raids, however, tearing up tracks and attempting to derail trains. The raiders often concealed themselves in drainage culverts beneath the rail bed while waiting to sabotage passing trains. After a derailment attempt failed on July 26, 1863, Union Gen. George G. Meade ordered civilian saboteurs severely punished. To protect the railroad, the 155th New York and 4th Delaware Regiments camped along the tracks here.

(Sidebar) The longest continuous stretch of surviving Orange and Alexandria Railroad bed in Fairfax County runs through Lake Accotink Park. The park occupies land that was originally part of the 22,000-acre Ravensworth tract that William Fitzhugh purchased in 1685. The Fitzhugh's were related to the Lees, who often visited Ravensworth. In 1829, Robert E. Lee's mother died there. Two years later, Robert E. Lee married Mary Randolph Custis, and the couple honeymooned at Ravensworth. Mary Custis Lee inherited Ravensworth after the war and moved there after Robert E. Lee died in 1870. The Lees' second son, William Henry Fitzhugh "Rooney" Lee, inherited the tract on her death in 1874. The house, built about 1796, burned in 1926.

(Sidebar)After his December 28, 1862, raid, Stuart and his men stopped at Sully Plantation in Western Fairfax County. To learn more about Sully's role in the war, please visit the Sully Civil War Trails site.
HM NumberHM16B
Series This marker is part of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad series, and the Virginia Civil War Trails series.
Placed ByCivil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 at 1:17am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 307388 N 4296092
Decimal Degrees38.79255000, -77.21778333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 47.553', W 77° 13.067'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 47' 33.18" N, 77° 13' 4.02" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)703, 571
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 10 Lake Accotink Trail, West Springfield VA 22152, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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