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Posted at 9:57 AM ET, 02/ 4/2011

Civil War history of Alexandria, Va. house uncovered

By Linda Wheeler

Civil war houser

The crowd that gathered for a photographer in front of an Alexandria house as the Civil War ended was unusual for the times. Standing together were men and women, black and white, civilian and military. Children are lined up in front of the adults.Their outfits ranged from very casual to their very best.

The only information about the photo posted on the National Archives website was the address of the house, but that was enough for architectural historian Tim Dennee to research the building that is still standing and the photo. Dennee discovered the house had been used during the war as a barracks for Union soldiers and later as housing for escaped slaves. It had belonged to Confederate sympathizers who fled Alexandria as the war began.

The building was later converted into a refugee center by two women in the group photo -- well-known abolitionists, Julia Wilbur and former slave and author Harriet Jacobs. Jacobs and Wilbur, a New York Quaker who moved to Alexandria during the war, moved into the house in February, 1863 where they dispensed free food and clothing and provided schooling for black children. They also cared for wounded soldiers.

Alexandria Times reporter Derrick Perkins has more information on this story. The report and the photograph made by Dennee is on the Friends of Freedmen's Cemetery website.

By Linda Wheeler  | February 4, 2011; 9:57 AM ET
Categories:  150th anniversary, News  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Escape from Ft. Sumter
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Can a pic of the same spot today be posted? That would make the story even more interesting.

Posted by: motogp46 | February 4, 2011 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Google has amazing street view of Property. Here:,-77.047647&spn=0,0.001285&t=h&z=20&layer=c&cbll=38.801901,-77.047647&panoid=NRy0Iq8tR6O6OAYmT3lRYw&cbp=12,287.5,,2,7.59

If link is old, try clicking word in blue: "Story"
, look at Wolfe st & Washington in downtown alexandria. Remember 3 story & now white with black trim. been photographers studio for140 years & working. Amazing thing , map photo is so clear see right thru window glass.

figures photo story written about building with old, in business, photo studio in building.


Posted by: ThomasStewart1 | February 4, 2011 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Go to Google maps and search for 321 South Washington Street in Alexandria and you should be able to see it.

Posted by: novakind | February 4, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

YES LINK WORKS. Notice on first floor, two windows on Each side have been made into one large display window for stores on each side. Double entrance doors, maybe up & main floor, hae been modified into one doorway now, same Shutters, still hanging in lopsided fashion. Pharmacy has moved across alley. so 2 business from over century ago are still operating thereby.

Notice how many children there are in original photo, compared to just few adults, photo is in winter time. some of children have Wrappedbandages about head. Maybe Hospitol patients.

Signed:Thomas stewart.

Posted by: ThomasStewart1 | February 4, 2011 3:10 PM | Report abuse

There's a current photo on page 26 in the researcher's report.

Posted by: novakind | February 4, 2011 3:24 PM | Report abuse

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