Browse Exhibits (4 total)

Soldiers with Rifles in the Woods

Charles H. Ballou and the 1st Ohio Volunteer Regiment

Charles H. Ballou, a professional engraver, was born 1840 in Ohio. He served as private in the 1st Ohio Volunteer regiment.  The Ohio soldiers were part of President Lincoln's initial call-up of 75,000 troops to defend the Capital.  Arriving in Arlington in early June of 1861 the 1st Ohio established camp in Four Mile Run Valley at the base of Upton's Hill.

Ballou sketched drawings of soldiers and camp scenes from June to September 1861 while stationed in Arlington.  His drawings captured an important moment in history. The 1st Ohio was tasked with protecting the bridges of the Alexandria, Loudon, & Hampshire railroad.  On several occaisions the bridges were destroyed by Confederate troops. The 1st Ohio would eventually take part in the June 17, 1861 Battle of Vienna in an attempt by Ohio General Robert C. Schenck to secure the railroad. 



Upton's Hill Captured in Art and Photography

During the Civil War Upton's Hill was a strategic site contested by both Union and Confederate forces.  Following the defeat of the Union Army at Manassas in July of 1861, Confederate General James Longstreet moved his brigade close to Arlington to threaten Washington D.C.  For the next several months Upton's Hill was witness to daily skirmishes and small military engagements.

These engagements attracted the attention of northern newspapers.  Since photography was still in its infancy, they depended upon sketch artists to capture the life of the soldiers in their camps and on the battlefield.  In addition, many of the soldiers themselves were talented artists and were able to draw and preserve their wartime experiences.

"Upton's Hill Captured in Art" is a unique snapshot of the early part of the Civil War.  As the number of Union regiments increased the Confederates withdrew to Fairfax Courthouse in late September 1861.  To strengthen the Capital's defenses Union General George McClellan built additional defenses on or near the hill, including Fort Ramsay, Fort Buffalo, and Fort Taylor. 

Surrounding the forts were several camps and Upton's Hill became a major hub for troop movements and logistics. It became a small town on to itself, with medical facilities, sutlers, and even a photographic studio, where soldiers could purchase photos to send home to their families.


The Army in the Advance.jpg

The Army in the Advance

Arthur Lumley, a newspaper illustrator during the Civil War was able to capture an iconic scene of the 25th New York regiment conducting their "Evening Parade" at Camp Bliss on Upton's Hill. The image entitled "The Army in the Advance" serves as a reminder of the first year of the war when Union and Confederate forces were locked in a stalemate near the nation's Capital.

The American Civil War (1861-1865) was a major military conflict that impacted a broad swath of the United States. As a theater of war, it touched a significant number of both northern and southern states. As the war unfolded the terrible ferocity of the military engagements resulted in horrific casualties. These large battles soon eclipsed the significance of the early military engagements that took place in Arlington and Northern Virginia.

The exhibit "Army in the Advance" provides a glimpse of the early war when both sides of the conflict were tentative in their ability to wage war. President Abraham Lincoln was under great political pressure to demonstrate his administration’s ability to put down the rebellion. Northern newspapers followed the early military engagements and battles and wondered outloud when Union forces were going to attack Richmond.

During the first year of the war Upton's Hill represented the Union Army's forward advance into Virginia. The hill was fortified, and its camps became a military logistical center, including a supply depot, commissary, and photography studio. Dozens of Union regiments rotated through the area.


Seat of War

From the moment Union troops crossed the Potomac into Northern Virginia on May 24, 1861, Arlington found itself at the epicenter of the conflict. Newspapers in both the North and South reported on the war on a daily basis.  They were most interested in how troops from their hometowns were doing.

As a result readers in 1861 quickly became familiar with landmarks like Arlington Heights, Ball's Cross Roads, and Upton's Hill.  The need for maps became a necessity for both journalists and military leaders alike.

These newspaper reports and early maps provide an important  perspective of the early military engagements that took place in and around Arlington.