In May 1898 the Spanish-American War came to Northern Virginia with the establishment of Camp Russell A. Alger (below). The 1,400-acre camp, south of where you are now located, encompassed the fields and forests of the former Woodburn Manor farm.
Some 23,000 soldiers from 16 states were trained here, but most would never see combat. In December the United States signed a peace treaty with Spain, and the war was over.
Pvt. George B. Thayer of the First Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, Company K, wrote home from Camp Alger in July 1898:
As we are camped on a treeless, thirty acre lot, covered with weeds and corn stubble and two inches of fine dust, you can better imagine how utterly useless it is for us to keep clean.... Everyone comes back from drills covered with sweat and dust, mixed together.... I like this camp, for it is comparatively free of bad rum and mean women....I also like the rough experience here, for it is the nearest to the real thing we have seen.