Resources for the Study of Alexandria During the Civil War

The following resources provide some insight into the War and its effect on Alexandria and its inhabitants.

Page updated on Mar 2, 2020 at 5:35 PM

Resources for the Study of Alexandria During the Civil War

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 Alexandria Library, Special Collections

The 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.

Genealogical Resources 

Online exhibits 

  • 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.   

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) 

From the Friends of Freedmen's Cemetery

Visit the  Friends of Freedmen's Cemetery for more historical resources, including:

From the National Trust for Historic Preservation

From the Alexandria Historical Society

The Alexandria Chronicle and the earlier Alexandria History Magazine are publications of the  Alexandria Historical Society. The following articles pertaining to the Civil War in Alexandria can be found on the AHS website.

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 

  • A Chronicle of the 17th Virginia Regiment-The Reminiscences of Col. Arthur Herbert, by T. Michael Miller, 1984
  • 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) 

Alexandria Archaeological Reports relating to the Civil War