Point Lookout, Maryland: A Confederate POW Camp, a Union Fort, and a Place to Fish

Point Lookout, Maryland: A Confederate POW Camp, a Union Fort, and a Place to Fish

Point Lookout's location marked it for many things during the Civil War, including a large Confederate POW camp. 

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Finding Descendants from Alexandria's Contraband and Freedmen Cemetery

Finding Descendants from Alexandria's Contraband and Freedmen Cemetery

Char McCargo Bah explained how she found descendants from among more than 1,750 people buried in Alexandria's Contraband and Freedmen Cemetery--who can now celebrate their ancestors, many of whom escaped slavery.

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Cemeteries in Old Alexandria

Last night's episode of Mercy Street included a poignant scene in which the Green and Fairfax families attempted to bury Tom Fairfax. No matter one's sympathies, seeing a funeral disrupted at gunpoint was not pleasant.

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Alexandria Walking Tour

On Monday, April 13, Pamela Cressey, who teaches Historical Archaeology at George Washington University, asked me to join her class as she took them on an abbreviated tour to show them the places they have studied in class. We met on a beautiful spring afternoon at the King Street Metro Station and headed southeast to Duke Street. First stops" Bruin's--one of the "inspirations" for Uncle Tom's Cabin--and Franklin & Armfield slave pens. Both establishments were flourishing mid-19th century businesses that dealt in the purchase and sale of humans. Alongside Franklin & Armfield (sold and called Price Birch and Co. by 1861), the Union built a hospital for African American soldiers and civilians, called L'Ouverture Hospital, in 1864 and operated for the next several years before it was torn down.

Julia Wilbur often visited these sites.

Our last stop was Alexandria National Cemetery, the military cemetery built in 1863. In a future blog post, I will talk more about the cemetery, including an ultimately successful petition by L'Ouverture patients in late 1864 to demand that black soldiers be buried there.

Pam (Alexandria's now-retired City Archaeologist) had assigned her students a project to research some of the USCT through hospital and pension records. Then they fanned out in the cemetery to search for the gravestone of "their" soldiers.

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