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June 6, 1861

Anonymous. [Sketch of eastern portion of Fairfax County, VA.] 1861

Anonymous. [Sketch of eastern portion of Fairfax County, VA.] 1861

Mead. [Map of part of Fairfax County, VA.] 1861

Mead. [Map of part of Fairfax County, VA.] 1861

As the nation moved towards an increasingly inevitable “war between the states,” both Union and Confederate forces continued to mobilize. Northern Virginia, today a bustling suburb was part of a state that had seceded from the Union, and Washington D.C. was the capital of the United States. Fairfax County, Virginia was home to Confederate forces and sympathizers while Washington was turning into a heavily defended town. It was only a matter of time before skirmishes and large scale battles broke out.

In early June, 1861, several minor skirmishes between Union and Confederate forces occurred near Fairfax Court House and Arlington Mills in eastern Fairfax County, Virginia. An anonymous manuscript map of Fairfax County found among the Papers of Jubal Anderson Early, a Colonel in the Army of the Confederate States of America, which shows the major settlements, streams, and roads in the county. It is likely that Early acquired or used the map in connection with the movement of forces prior to the July 21 engagement at Battle of First Manassas/Bull Run.

Military forces operating in unfamiliar territory relied on local inhabitants for information and supplies. As seen on F.F. Mead’s manuscript [Map of part of Fairfax County, Virginia], the names of landowners in Fairfax County are followed by either an “S” or “U”. While the map does not include information on the abbreviations it is likely that they refer to either the “Secessionist” or “Unionist” sympathies of the landowner.

Map Citations

[Anonymous] Sketch of eastern portion of Fairfax County, Va., June 1861,/em>. 1 map : col. ms., cloth ; 67 x 61 cm. (Transferred from the Jubal Anderson Early Papers in the Manuscript Division, LC).
Catalog record: http://lccn.loc.gov/99446520

Mead, F.F. [Map of part of Fairfax County, Virginia, south of the city of Alexandria and the Orange and Alexandria Railroad] / F. F. Mead, Lt. Co. I, 16th N.Y.V. Del., Aug. 30th 1861. 1 map: col. ms., cloth ; 95 x 92 cm.
Catalog record: http://lccn.loc.gov/99446519