Arlington Bookshelf:
Arlington in the Civil War

Arlington Bookshelf:
Arlington in the Civil War

With its proximity to Washington, D.C., Arlington, then known as Alexandria County, was essential to the protection of the nation’s capital during the Civil War. Union troops built a ring of forts around the city, including nearly two dozen in Arlington. And of course, Robert E. Lee’s stately home, located in the heart of Arlington Cemetery, gave the county its name.

Here are a few books that touch on Arlington’s key role in the Civil War:

MrLincolnsFortsMr. Lincoln’s Forts: A Guide to the Civil War Defenses of Washington
By Benjamin Cooling and Walton Owen
This is an expertly written history and guide to the ring of fortifications that circled Washington, D.C., during the Civil War, including those in present-day Arlington. Includes ample photographs of such places as Fort Ethan Allen and Fort C.F. Smith.

By Douglas Southall Freeman
This is the definitive portrait of Robert E. Lee, including his time at his beloved Arlington estate. Freeman, who won two Pulitzer Prizes for his writing, wrote a masterful four-volume biography of the Confederate leader, but an excellent one-volume abridgement is also widely available.

Ladyof ArlingtonMrs. Robert E. Lee: The Lady of Arlington
By John Perry
Mary Custis Lee remains a lesser-known figure, forever in the shadow of her famous husband. This volume seeks to bring her into the light, showcasing Lee’s life as a wife and mother and also an ardent defender of her Arlington estate.

OnHallowedGroundOn Hallowed Ground: The Story of Arlington National Cemetery
By Robert M. Poole
So much history is encapsulated in Arlington Cemetery. Poole captures it all in this thoroughly researched book, which includes the cemetery’s origins during the war.

LincolnsCitadelLincoln’s Citadel: The Civil War in Washington, D.C.
By Kenneth J. Winkle
This recently published book discusses the struggles of freedmen and ex-slaves in the nation’s capital during the Civil War, including the experiences of Freedman’s Village, located on the grounds of present-day Arlington Cemetery during the war.

AASitesArlingtonAfrican-American History in Arlington, Virginia
A joint project of the Arlington Convention and Visitors Service, Arlington Chamber of Commerce, and the Black Heritage Museum of Arlington
This handsome booklet includes information about several sites in Arlington that are important to African-American history, many of which were significant during the Civil War, including Freedman’s Village and Mount Zion Baptist Church.

With the exception of the above booklet, these publications are available through the Arlington County Library, although some might be reference only and non-circulating. You can also find them at online retailers. The African-American History in Arlington booklet is currently out of print but available in PDF form at this link.

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