Julia Wilbur's Alexandria

My friend Mary visited from Connecticut and asked for a tour of Julia Wilbur sites in Alexandria. (She is a fellow history nut, writer, and great friend, as I am not sure who else would indulge me on a hot summer day!) We didn't have much time, but off we went to some of the spots on a map I built:



 I first used this image, based on a map of Civil War hospitals, for a talk at the Lyceum in Old Town Alexandria (the red star). Click on it to enlarge it. You will also see many of the camps and hospitals as an underlay.

To orient you, the Potomac River is on the far right, to the east. Washington Street (red) is the main north-south and Duke Street (also in red) is one of the several main east-west thoroughfares. Arlington House is to the north and Mount Vernon is to the south.

The key is as follows:

Three places she lived:

  1. 323 St Asaph St, home of free black carpenter and community leader George Seaton

  2. Corner of Duke and Columbus, known as the Scott House, a boarding house run by a Northern family called the Kimballs (still standing)

  3. 300 block, Washington and Wolfe Streets, a duplex used for housing, freedmen's hospital, clothing distribution, and other purposes (still standing)

Four places she visited often

4. 1315 Duke Street, Former slave pen, used as a slave trading business before the war and for housing and jail during it (still standing). L'Ouverture Hospital built adjacent (dismantled after the war)

5. Prince and about Fayette Streets, Freedmen's barracks, three long buildings used for housing (dismantled after the war)

6. Prince and Royal Streets, Freedmen's Home (a little unsure about this, please let me know if this is accurate or not)

7. Pitt and Oronoco Streets Jacobs school, a school set up by Harriet Jacobs to provide free education to blacks (burned after the war)

Two official places where she had to transact business

8. 209 St. Asaph, the headquarters of Military General John Slough (still standing)

9. Corner of King and Pitt Streets, the Provost Marshal's office 

Two African American neighborhoods where many freedpeople moved

10. 400 block of South Royal, Hayti, established in the early 1800s and named for the site of a successful slave uprising 

11. Bottom of Prince and Oronoco Streets, Fishtown, established in the 1850s to process fish from the Potomac

Finally, three other places often on her rounds:

12. Foot of Cameron, King, and other streets, The Waterfront, which served as a logistics center for the Union army 

13. Wilkes and Patrick Streets, the Soldiers Burying Ground (still standing as Alexandria National Cemetery)

14. 1000 block South Washington Street, Freedmen's and Contrabands' Cemetery (forgotten for decades but now standing)

I will share some of my photos from the morning in the next couple of days.

In the meantime, the city has two self-guided tours with some of these locations and many others:

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