Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial

Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial This page is maintained by NPS employees for information and discussion only. Please see the commen Lee Memorial or the National Park Service.
(27)

Comments posted by users do not necessarily reflect the views of Arlington House, The Robert E. We reserve the right to delete user comments that include profanity, name-calling, threats, personal attacks, or other inappropriate comments or material. We reserve the right to block any user who violates this, or any other policies governing Facebook. Comments will be removed if:
• Contain vulgar lan

guage or are obscene
• Do not relate to the post
• Personally attack users
• Can be considered harassment

Today is National Hunting and Fishing Day. George Washington Parke Custis loved hunting. He inherited his interest in hu...
09/24/2023

Today is National Hunting and Fishing Day.

George Washington Parke Custis loved hunting. He inherited his interest in hunting from George Washington. Washington derived great pleasure from hunting foxes, turkey, waterfowl and other game. Beginning at a young age, Custis hunted deer at Mount Vernon. As an adult, he set aside six hundred acres of Arlington for hunting.

Like other forms of recreation among the planter class, hunting utilized enslaved labor. Washington enslaved a man named William Lee as a valet. In his memoirs, Custis writes that Lee worked as Washington's huntsman during fox hunts. This meant that Lee directed fox hounds during hunts using a horn. At Arlington, Custis enslaved William Lee's nephew, Phillip Lee, as his own valet.

Photo: The Hunting Hall at Arlington House. The fresco at the top of the photo depicts greyhounds in a Virginia hunting scene. The fresco was painted by George Washington Parke Custis. It remains visible at Arlington House today.

Learn more: https://www.nps.gov/museum/exhibits/arho/leisureIFRAME.html

09/08/2023

Arlington National Cemetery officials and Joint Base Myer Henderson-Hall emergency services responded to a bomb threat early this morning. The cemetery closed to the public and funeral services scheduled this morning were postponed. The cemetery's response teams and local law enforcement partners spent the morning on site investigating the threat. Nothing suspicious was found, and law enforcement safely cleared all areas.

The cemetery will remain closed for the remainder of the day to visitors and family pass holders. We are focusing our efforts now on working with families to ensure that funerals scheduled earlier this morning and this afternoon will be conducted later today.

Arlington National Cemetery’s commitment to providing a safe and secure environment for our visitors, families and employees guided our actions this morning.

“Every threat to Arlington National Cemetery is taken seriously. I want to thank our visitors and family members for their patience and understanding, and an extensive team of our law enforcement partners across the National Capital Region for their swift and thorough response. We will spend the remainder of the day focused on our mission of laying our service members and their loved ones to rest,” said Army National Military Cemeteries and Office of Army Cemeteries Executive Director Karen Durham-Aguilera.

For additional information please contact: 703-614-0024 and follow Arlington National Cemetery on our social media platforms and our website at: www.arlingtoncemetery.mil.

09/08/2023

Arlington National Cemetery officials and Joint Base Myer Henderson-Hall emergency services are currently responding to a bomb threat. The cemetery is closed to the general public and funeral services have been delayed until further notice. The cemetery's response teams and local law enforcement partners are on site investigating the threat. The public is requested to avoid the area and wait for updates posted to our social media platforms.

How does knowing your past inform your future?To George Washington Parke Custis ("Wash" Custis), family ancestry was ver...
09/06/2023

How does knowing your past inform your future?

To George Washington Parke Custis ("Wash" Custis), family ancestry was very important. Custis named Arlington House after a plantation in Cape Charles, Virginia. John Custis II owned that plantation. John Custis II was Wash Custis's great, great, great grandfather. John Custis II named his estate after a village in Gloucestershire, England. He chose the name because that village was where his father was born and raised.

Family ancestry was also important to people enslaved at Arlington. But slavery devastated families. Slaveholders forced family members to live and work separate from each other. The family names of enslaved people often came from slaveholders, not family history.

Still, enslaved people found ways to connect to their ancestry. In 2021, archeologists discovered artifacts in the Gray Family Quarters at Arlington. The artifacts were suggestive of West African religious customs. The Grays lived several generations after their ancestors who lived in West Africa. But these discoveries show us one way that they connected with their family heritage.

Photo Left: site of plantation house at Cape Charles.
Photo Right: Artifacts discovered in Gray Family Quarters. The artifacts were under the fireplace.

Learn more: https://www.nps.gov/arho/learn/management/archeological-discovery-in-the-slave-quarters.htm

Arlington House and Arlington National Cemetery reopened today.  Please obey all signs and do not enter marked off areas...
08/03/2023

Arlington House and Arlington National Cemetery reopened today. Please obey all signs and do not enter marked off areas and closed sections in the cemetery as crews continue to clean up from Saturday's storm.

Arlington House is closed today (July 30) as crews work to clean up following a storm that passed through the area on Sa...
07/30/2023

Arlington House is closed today (July 30) as crews work to clean up following a storm that passed through the area on Saturday afternoon.

‼️ ANC will closed tomorrow, July 30.

Our crews need time to clear downed trees and limbs from the severe storm that came through this afternoon.

We regret the inconvenience as we must ensure the cemetery is safe for visitors and staff.

Please, plan accordingly.

The first major battle of the Civil War took pace at Manassas National Battlefield Park, in Prince William County, Virgi...
06/24/2023

The first major battle of the Civil War took pace at Manassas National Battlefield Park, in Prince William County, Virginia. The Union army at that battle was commanded by General Irvin McDowell. McDowell, who was born in Columbus, Ohio on October 15, 1828, would go on to command the I Corps of the Army of the Potomac, despite the defeat at Manassas. McDowell had his headquarters at Arlington House, since Robert E. Lee's family left in May of 1861. General McDowell wrote Mary Lee to assure her that Arlington House itself was not occupied by the Army and that it would be protected. On January 5, 1862, General McDowell wrote to the war department about an encounter with an enslaved woman (Selina Gray) at Arlington: “A short time ago an old ….. woman belonging to the estate came to tell me she had been intrusted [entrusted] by her mistress with the key of one of the cellar rooms, and some time back this room had been broken into and was now open, and as it contained china which was exposed, the boxes in which it had been packed having been broken open, she wished to be relieved of the responsibility of having the key. I had the door closed and also that of the attic, which I found had been broken open.” Selina Gray's action helped to preserve numerous artifacts at Arlington. To learn more about General Irvin McDowell and the Civil War, visit Arlington House.

https://www.nps.gov/people/irvin-mcdowell.htm

https://www.nps.gov/arho/learn/historyculture/union.htm

https://www.nps.gov/arho/learn/historyculture/south-slave-quarters-museum-exhibit.htm

Juneteenth (Freedom Day or Emancipation Day) dates to 1865. Two and a half years had passed since President Abraham Linc...
06/19/2023

Juneteenth (Freedom Day or Emancipation Day) dates to 1865. Two and a half years had passed since President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. It is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. Lucius Bingham first appears on documents at Arlington in 1858. His parents were Austin and Louisa Bingham. Lucius and his family were enslaved at Arlington. The plantation belonged to George Washington Parke Custis. Custis was Martha Washington's grandson and would become Robert E. Lee's father-in-law. Lucius' older brothers were split from the rest of the family. Lee had them jailed and removed far from the plantation in 1858. Lucius Bingham enlisted in the 38th United States Colored Troops in March 1865. In June 1865 the 38th USCT would be sent to Texas to deliver General Order No. 3, which informed the people of Texas that all enslaved people were now free. Private Bingham mustered out of the USCT in 1866. His service contributed to the preservation of the Union and liberation of millions.

https://www.nps.gov/arho/learn/management/telling-the-story-of-the-enslaved-
people-at-arlington-house.htm

Photo: United States Colored Troops standing in front of a building holding their rifles.

Christmas and the holiday season has been perceived by many as being a joyous time. For the Lee Family, it was a time to...
12/29/2022

Christmas and the holiday season has been perceived by many as being a joyous time. For the Lee Family, it was a time to be together and to celebrate their faith. This was because Robert E. Lee would have been home on leave, and the family would be together. Often exchanging presents and filled with music. On the other hand, for the enslaved, the holiday season was a time of joy, but also anxiety. Sometimes they would be given time off. Sadly, after the holidays, many families throughout the south would be forcefully divided. Here at Arlington, if the enslaved resisted their enslavement, they were hired out away from the estate. One of the stipulations was that they were not allowed to return for Christmas (Pryor, "Reading the Man", 266). They would be forcefully kept away from their families. So, when history is presented, there is always two sides to a coin. We must talk about both perspectives. What does Christmas mean to those who were held in enslavement here? To learn more about enslavement at Arlington House, please visit:
Slavery at Arlington - Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)

Due to inclement weather, Arlington House will open today December 24, 2022 at 11:00 a.m.  Please follow Arlington Natio...
12/24/2022

Due to inclement weather, Arlington House will open today December 24, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. Please follow Arlington National Cemetery for updates on the cemetery.


https://www.arlingtoncemetery.mi

Due to inclement weather, Arlington House will open to the public on Thursday, Dec. 15 at 11:00 a.m.Please plan your vis...
12/15/2022

Due to inclement weather, Arlington House will open to the public on Thursday, Dec. 15 at 11:00 a.m.

Please plan your visit accordingly.

Arlington House is the nation’s memorial to Robert E. Lee. It honors him for specific reasons, including his role in promoting peace and reunion after the Civil War. In a larger sense it exists as a place of study and contemplation of the meaning of some of the most difficult aspects of American h...

On the afternoon of March 3, 1963, park rangers at Arlington House received an unexpected guest. Out on a sightseeing tr...
11/25/2022

On the afternoon of March 3, 1963, park rangers at Arlington House received an unexpected guest. Out on a sightseeing trip, President John F. Kennedy had to come for a visit. Kennedy asked one ranger if he could look around. The ranger immediately agreed to give him a tour. When they finished, they stood in front of the house looking at D.C. and the Memorial Bridge. Hearing that the bridge symbolized peace and reunification, Kennedy was moved. At that moment, he supposedly said, "I could stay here forever."

Eight months later, President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. The loss came as a shock to the entire nation. Many, including his family, expected to bury him in Boston, Massachusetts. But Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara proposed Arlington instead. He remembered how much Kennedy had admired the history and solemnity of the site. On November 25, 1963, he was buried at the base of the hill in front of Arlington House.

Thousands of people still visit Kennedy's grave every day. When they do, they can look up at Arlington House and remember Kennedy's words.

Learn more: https://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/Explore/Monuments-and-Memorials/President-John-F-Kennedy-Gravesite

11/16/2022

Join NPS rangers for talks at Arlington House every day at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. in November to learn more about its history.

Yesterday was Election Day! In the 1870s, two men who had lived at Arlington House held elected office back-to-back. The...
11/09/2022

Yesterday was Election Day! In the 1870s, two men who had lived at Arlington House held elected office back-to-back. The first was John B. Syphax, whose parents were once enslaved at Arlington Plantation. He was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1874. During his single term, he fought for increased voting rights for African Americans.

Then in 1876, William Henry Fitzhugh Lee, one of Robert E. Lee's sons, won election to the Virginia Senate. Many of his bills promoted agriculture, transportation, and education in Virginia. A decade later, he served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1887 until his death in 1891. To learn more about these men and their families, click the links below:

https://www.nps.gov/arho/learn/historyculture/william-lee.htm https://www.nps.gov/arho/learn/historyculture/syphax.htm

Mary Randolph was the first person to be buried in front of Arlington House, which would later become Arlington National...
11/05/2022

Mary Randolph was the first person to be buried in front of Arlington House, which would later become Arlington National Cemetery. Mary was the cousin of Mary Fitzhugh, wife of George Washington Parke Custis. George, otherwise known as (Wash) was the Grandson of Martha Washington.

Mary Randolph was not only connected to the first families of Virginia, but she was also a descendant of Pocahontas. Pocahontas was one of the most iconic Native Americans in history. She was born in about 1617 and belonged to the Powhatan tribe. Pocahontas was mostly associated with the colonial settlement at Jamestown, Virginia.





https://www.nps.gov/arho/learn/historyculture/the-grave-of-mary-randolph.htm

Before the Civil War, Arlington House was home to several national relics. One of these was George Washington's Revoluti...
10/19/2022

Before the Civil War, Arlington House was home to several national relics. One of these was George Washington's Revolutionary War tent. When Washington died, his adopted grandson, George Washington Parke Custis, inherited it. He used to display it during parties at Arlington House - and may have cut out pieces as souvenirs. At the start of the Civil War, Mary Custis Lee left the tent behind in a locked room. Later, Selina Gray, an enslaved woman, discovered U.S. soldiers had tried to break into the room. Concerned about the safety of these relics, General Irvin McDowell sent them into Washington, D.C. for safekeeping. Mary Lee tried to reacquire them after the war, but her petition was denied. In 1901, President McKinley returned them to her oldest daughter, Mary Custis Lee. She then sold the tent in 1909. Today, the National Park Service displays the part of the tent it owns at Yorktown Battlefield.



Learn more: https://www.nps.gov/arho/learn/historyculture/the-washington-treasury.htm

https://www.amrevmuseum.org/washington-s-war-tent-after-the-civil-war-reclaiming-history

On October 13, 1857, George Washington Parke Custis was buried beside his wife in what is now Section 13 of Arlington Na...
10/18/2022

On October 13, 1857, George Washington Parke Custis was buried beside his wife in what is now Section 13 of Arlington National Cemetery. Three days earlier, he died of a brief illness at the age of 76. Agnes Lee, his teenaged granddaughter, wrote of his death, "It is there! ever in my memory. Don’t tell me that sixteen can’t feel grief – anguish." His niece Markie Williams cried as she walked back from his grave beneath the falling leaves. Custis's passing affected everyone at Arlington House, including its enslaved inhabitants. According to his will, they were to become free within five years of his death. The enslaved people who stood by his grave for the funeral remembered this promise. Though long delayed, they would receive their promised freedom in December 1862.
https://www.nps.gov/arho/learn/historyculture/george-custis.htm

At Arlington House, we will now be giving a variety of programs every day until November 23, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00...
10/15/2022

At Arlington House, we will now be giving a variety of programs every day until November 23, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 pm. Each program can last from approximately 20 minutes to 30 minutes.

There is no fee, nor reservations are not required. Programs do not include special access to the buildings of Arlington House. Yet, they give opportunities for you to understand key topics to the site. From the history, different perspectives, stories, people, places, and connections, programs can vary. The buildings are available for you to explore at your own pace. Please join us if available!



https://www.nps.gov/arho/learn/historyculture/stories.htm
https://www.nps.gov/arho/learn/historyculture/people.htm
https://www.nps.gov/arho/learn/historyculture/places.htm
Visitor Expectations and Language Resource - Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)

Arlington House’s historical connections go beyond the borders of the United States. They even extend into South America...
10/04/2022

Arlington House’s historical connections go beyond the borders of the United States. They even extend into South America! In the early 1800s, General Simón Bolívar fought to free much of South America from Spanish control. G.W.P. Custis decided to show his support for "the Liberator" and asked the Marquis de Lafayette to help him do this. When Lafayette met with a Colombian diplomat in 1825, he gave him relics that once belonged to George Washington. These included a lock of hair, a miniature portrait, and a gold medal. Custis also attached a letter praising Bolívar for "the illustrious services you have rendered to your country and the cause of mankind." Bolívar later thanked Custis for the relics and "the letter of his worthy descendant." Today, a statue of Bolívar stands near the Department of the Interior's office. It shows him wearing the same gold medal that had once belonged to George Washington.

https://www.nps.gov/arho/learn/historyculture/g-w-p-custis-promotes-patriotism.htm

James Parks was born as one of the enslaved people at Arlington House in 1843. James worked in the fields on the plantat...
09/29/2022

James Parks was born as one of the enslaved people at Arlington House in 1843. James worked in the fields on the plantation, rarely ever seeing the inside of Arlington House. After the war he worked for Arlington National Cemetery digging graves. In 1925, Congress decided to restore Arlington to its appearance in 1860 and James became a vital source to restoring it accurately. Due to James' published accounts, numerous parts of the history at Arlington House were able to be restored. James Parks passed away in August of 1929 and became the only person buried in Arlington Cemetery who was born on the old plantation, and was laid to rest with full military honors. It was a fitting tribute to a man whose life linked Arlington's past and present. Find out more about James Parks by visiting: https://www.nps.gov/arho/learn/historyculture/parks.htm

Read his published account from 1928: https://www.nps.gov/arho/learn/historyculture/james-parks-newspaper-article-from-1928.htm

Arlington House was home not only to the Custis-Lee family, but to the sixty-three enslaved people who lived and worked there as well. One of those enslaved people was James Parks, also known as Jim Parks. Without him, the story of Arlington would be incomplete. James Parks was born sometime in the....

At Arlington House, we have more than just history.  It is always great to see the many wildlife living around the house...
09/28/2022

At Arlington House, we have more than just history. It is always great to see the many wildlife living around the house. You can see hawks fly from tree to tree, you can hear and occasionally see owls calling back and forth to each other. Wild turkeys, foxes, big and baby coyotes roam through our old growth forest. All while we compete with the many deer and rabbits from eating all the vegetables in our Kitchen Garden. Throughout the year we see them all. Here are a couple pictures of sighting this year.

Nature - George Washington Memorial Parkway (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)

September 27th is World Tourism Day. Over 24 million travelers visit various points of interest throughout the Washingto...
09/27/2022

September 27th is World Tourism Day. Over 24 million travelers visit various points of interest throughout the Washington, DC area every year. Over 3 million individuals visit Arlington National Cemetery, and of those nearly 500,000 people visit Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, one of the most visited historic house museums in the National Park Service system. Many of those visitors come away learning how the cemetery was originally an 1100-acre plantation inherited by George Washington Parke Custis and later became one of the most hallowed places in the United States.

Unable to visit us in person? Check out our virtual tour: https://www.nps.gov/arho/learn/historyculture/virtual-tour.htm

This summer, Arlington House have been fortunate to have a couple great groups put time and effort into the Arlington Ho...
09/22/2022

This summer, Arlington House have been fortunate to have a couple great groups put time and effort into the Arlington House Kitchen Garden.

In no particular order, they consist of President’s Park Youth Conservation Corps, Amazon, Friends of Urban Agriculture, and other regular dedicated volunteers. There is also a perennial herb garden on site.

The garden is associated with Plot Against Hunger. All produce gets donated to Arlington County food banks.

Do you have a garden? If so, please share some pictures, ideas, tips, etc. from your garden, we would love to see and hear them.



Video (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)

The Rangers at the Arlington House are often asked what that black flag flying underneath the American flag is in front ...
09/16/2022

The Rangers at the Arlington House are often asked what that black flag flying underneath the American flag is in front of the house and what it means. The Rangers point out that the flag says “POW” and “MIA”. To honor those who in times of war, sacrificed their freedom as Prisoners of War (POW), and the thousands of service members who remain unaccounted for, or Missing in Action (MIA). The bottom half of the flag reads “You are Not Forgotten”. Since 1979, the third Friday in September has been recognized as a day to commemorate those service members who were taken as prisoners of war and those whose fate remains unknown. People often notice that the flags are almost always at half-staff. This is because they are honoring the funeral services that take place at Arlington National Cemetery, which has up to 20 services per day except Sundays and federal holidays.

Learn more about National POW/MIA Recognition Day: https://www.govinfo.gov/features/national-powmia-recognition-day

Happy Birthday to the National Park Service, which turns 106 years old today! The National Park Service was created on A...
08/25/2022

Happy Birthday to the National Park Service, which turns 106 years old today! The National Park Service was created on August 25, 1916 when the Organic Act was signed into law by the President of the United States. The mission of the National Park Service was described as "to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and . . . leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations." In 1933, the federal government transferred Arlington House from the War Department to the National Park Service, who have been the caretakers and stewards of Arlington House ever since.

Just last year, the National Park Service finished a multi-year and multi-million dollar rehabilitation of Arlington House so that future generations can continue to connect with the the history on site. Learn more: https://www.nps.gov/arho/learn/management/2021-arlington-house-rehabilitation.htm

The National Park Service completed a major rehabilitation effort in the summer of 2021, including artifact conservation, facilities restoration, and the installation of new interpretive exhibits. The rehabilitation, which began in 2018, was made possible through a $12.35 million donation by philant...

The HVAC system at Arlington House has been repaired and the house is now open to the public. Thank you for your patienc...
07/28/2022

The HVAC system at Arlington House has been repaired and the house is now open to the public. Thank you for your patience!

Arlington House is the nation’s memorial to Robert E. Lee. It honors him for specific reasons, including his role in promoting peace and reunion after the Civil War. In a larger sense it exists as a place of study and contemplation of the meaning of some of the most difficult aspects of American h...

July 28 – Buffalo Soldier DayDid you know that Buffalo Soldiers once served near Washington, D.C.? From 1891 to 1893, Tr...
07/28/2022

July 28 – Buffalo Soldier Day

Did you know that Buffalo Soldiers once served near Washington, D.C.? From 1891 to 1893, Troop K of the 9th Cavalry was stationed at Fort Myer in Arlington. While there, they had the chance to perform an important ceremonial function. In 1891, General Montgomery Meigs, the creator of Arlington National Cemetery, died. As his funeral procession crossed the Potomac River, the 9th Cavalry led the way. They halted in front of Arlington House and Meigs’s remains were taken inside. From there, they returned to Fort Myer while Meigs was buried in nearby Section 1. Soldiers at Fort Myer still serve as honor guards for funerals, just as the Buffalo Soldiers once did.



https://www.nps.gov/subjects/buffalosoldiers/index.htm

La Fête Nationale (Bastille Day)July 14 is France’s Fête Nationale, commonly called Bastille Day in the United States. T...
07/15/2022

La Fête Nationale (Bastille Day)

July 14 is France’s Fête Nationale, commonly called Bastille Day in the United States. This holiday commemorates the storming of the Bastille and the start of the French Revolution. One of the leading figures of the French Revolution, the Marquis de Lafayette, visited Arlington House in December 1824. According to his secretary’s memoirs, Lafayette was amazed by Arlington House’s grand portico and view of Washington. However, he was sad to see that G.W.P. Custis relied on enslaved labor. Lafayette remained a champion of freedom for all people for the rest of his life.

Marquis de Lafayette - Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)

Arlington National Cemetery's first Memorial Day ceremony took place at Arlington House on May 30, 1868. Since 1865, Ame...
05/30/2022

Arlington National Cemetery's first Memorial Day ceremony took place at Arlington House on May 30, 1868. Since 1865, Americans had honored fallen soldiers by leaving flowers on their graves. The tradition led to a spring holiday called Decoration Day, now known as Memorial Day. In 1868, a Union veteran named John Logan decided to bring this holiday to Arlington. He organized a ceremony that included patriotic music, prayers, and poems. Future-president James Garfield gave the keynote speech from the flag-draped portico. Because all government offices closed for the day, hundreds were able to attend. When Garfield finished, the crowd followed Ulysses S. Grant to the Tomb of the Civil War Unknowns. There, a choir of orphaned children sang a mournful song. Following the song, the crowd dispersed to decorate Union graves. This included the graves of African American soldiers in Section 27. This tradition was repeated for years afterward. It helped to make Arlington one of the most hallowed grounds in America.

https://www.nps.gov/arho/learn/historyculture/first-memorial-day-observances.htm

"The Union Occupation of Arlington"At 2:00 a.m. on the morning of May 24, 1861, Union soldiers crossed the Potomac River...
05/24/2022

"The Union Occupation of Arlington"

At 2:00 a.m. on the morning of May 24, 1861, Union soldiers crossed the Potomac River to occupy Arlington Heights. Both the Union and Confederate armies recognized the strategic importance of this position. From there, a rifled cannon could fire shells at every government building - even the White House. Newspapers called attention to this threat every day. Rumor had it that the Confederates were already there, prepared to attack at any moment. Yet the army had to wait. Virginia's secession would not be official unless the voters approved it on May 23. Hours after they did, soldiers finally arrived on the other side of the Potomac. The Union Army would remain at Arlington for the rest of the war, ensuring D.C. was never attacked from Virginia.

Learn more:
https://www.nps.gov/arho/learn/historyculture/union.htm

On April 20, 1861, Robert E. Lee resigned his commission in the U.S. Army, ending his thirty-two-year career. For decade...
04/20/2022

On April 20, 1861, Robert E. Lee resigned his commission in the U.S. Army, ending his thirty-two-year career. For decades, visitors to Arlington House would hear that Lee wrote his resignation in his bedroom after pacing and praying all night. This version of the story came from an account by George Upshur, a relative of Lee's wife. However, Upshur was only five when Lee resigned and wrote about it 75 years later. In 2002, Lee descendants found a letter from 1871 which told a different story. According to Robert E. Lee’s daughter Mary, her father wrote his resignation letter in his office. When he showed it to his wife and children, they were shocked. Traditionally, they had been a Unionist family which opposed secession. The National Park Service now tells this more complicated story in Lee's office. We continue to research our sites to present the past accurately.

On the night of April 19-20, 1861, Colonel Robert E. Lee resolved to resign his commission in the US Army. He wrote two letters. The first was a brief letter to the Secretary of War resigning his commission in the US Army. The second was to his commanding officer and mentor, General Winfield Scott.....

Update: On March 14 and 15, Arlington House will be open with access that includes a loose gravel path. All other buildi...
03/02/2022

Update: On March 14 and 15, Arlington House will be open with access that includes a loose gravel path. All other buildings (including restrooms) will be closed while we reseal exterior walkways. On March 16 and 17, the restrooms, bookstore, museum, and gardens will be closed for resealing the walkways.

Arlington House is the nation’s memorial to Robert E. Lee. It honors him for specific reasons, including his role in promoting peace and reunion after the Civil War. In a larger sense it exists as a place of study and contemplation of the meaning of some of the most difficult aspects of American h...

February 22 is George Washington's birthday. In the 1800s, it was America's second most important patriotic holiday, aft...
02/22/2022

February 22 is George Washington's birthday. In the 1800s, it was America's second most important patriotic holiday, after the Fourth of July. Many towns celebrated it with parades, fireworks, and formal balls. As Washington's adopted grandson, George Washington Parke Custis celebrated it by giving speeches and writing articles in honor of his step-grandfather.

One year, he also got involved with a controversial idea to honor the first president. Some members of Congress felt Washington's tomb at Mount Vernon was much too simple for such an important figure. They suggested reburying him in the Crypt of the U.S. Capitol in time for the centennial of his birth in 1832. Custis agreed and mentioned this in a letter to Congressman Charles Fenton Mercer. He only asked that Congress “will honour me so far, as to permit my forming one of the es**rt that shall go to Mt. Vernon to attend the remains to the place of their reinternment, that I may aid in performing the last duties to those, who performed so many and so endearing duties to me.”

Although Congress approved the proposal, Mount Vernon’s owner, John Augustine Washington, did not. George Washington’s will said that he wished to be buried without ceremony at his family home. John Augustine Washington felt it was wrong to go against his wishes. Today, Washington’s tomb remains at Mount Vernon while the Capitol’s Crypt sits empty.

Learn more about Custis' work to promote the legacy of George Washington: https://www.nps.gov/arho/learn/historyculture/g-w-p-custis-promotes-patriotism.htm

“The men and women who were contemporary with Washington have nearly all passed away, and in a few years every tongue that might now speak of personal recollections of the Father of his Country will be silent, and that forever. As we recede from the age of Washington, and history takes the place o...

Address

Memorial Drive
Arlington, VA
22211

Alerts

Be the first to know and let us send you an email when Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial posts news and promotions. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Contact The Business

Send a message to Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial:

Videos

Share

Nearby government services


Comments

Last month, we used our program reports collection to work our way through the history of NPS cultural landscape preservation and documentation. Now, we’re moving on to look at the preservation of through the reports collection.

This month, we’ll look at different types of historic structures, how those structures are preserved, and how preservation changes a structure over time. We’ll showcase reports from throughout NPS history to look at how preservation has evolved and changed over time, giving some insight into the multidisciplinary nature of preservation as it applies to historic structures.

We start with historic preservation reports for the North Slave Quarters at Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial:
https://www.instagram.com/p/CWBoy3ylFNm/

A biographical sketch of Robert E. Lee’s eventful life:
https://www.facebook.com/FounderingFathers/photos/a.483906144974237/4533204946710983/
Congratulations to Archeologist Matt Virta who was recently awarded the 2020 Appleman-Judd-Lewis Regional Director’s Award for Excellence in Cultural Resource Management. Each year, parks in the region nominate individuals for their exemplary work in preserving and protecting cultural resources.

Virta was recognized for his professionalism in overseeing the unanticipated archeological discovery in the South Slave Quarters at Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial. The artifacts discovered are likely related to the enslaved Selina and Thornton Gray family that once lived there. His careful recovery of objects and related research will help to inform efforts to tell more complete and inclusive stories about the lives of the enslaved people and families at Arlington House as well as continuing to build meaningful relationships with the descendant communities. Congratulations, Matt!

To learn more about the archeological discovery in the South Slave Quarters and Matt’s work, visit: https://www.nps.gov/arho/learn/management/archeological-discovery-in-the-slave-quarters.htm
BATTLE OF CHANTILLY

Hoping to cut off Pope’s retreating Army of Virginia, Confederate commander Robert E. Lee sent Jackson’s wing around the rear of Pope’s army.

On September 1, 1862, In the midst of a terrific thunderstorm, Jackson’s soldiers battled against two federal divisions under Generals Phil Kearny and Issac Stevens.

Stevens’ division attacked across a grassy field and was beaten back by a Confederate counter attack, during which Stevens was killed. In this atmosphere of chaos, Kearny, while trying to direct the fighting, accidentally rode too close to Confederate troops. Realizing his error, he refused to surrender and defiantly rode away, eliciting enemy gunfire which struck him down. Upon reaching the scene, Confederate Gen. A.P. Hill recognized the body and exclaimed, "You've killed Phil Kearny! He deserved a better fate than to die in the mud."

Both federal officers were later honored by having two forts as part of the Civil War Defenses of Washington named for them. Fort Stevens later became the site of a July 1864 battle.

Kearny is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, behind Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial. Nearby rest other Manassas related figures, including Colonel Edgar O’Conner, who was killed in action at Brawner Farm while in command of the 2nd WI, and the grave of the Civil War Unknowns.



Image 1: LOC, black and white period engraving showing Phil Kearny at center leading a charge
Image 2: LOC, black and white image of a seated Isaac Stevens wearing a federal officer's uniform
While there are many armies in the Civil War that are often familiar, such as the Army of the Potomac or the Army of Northern Virginia, there are also some less familiar armies that took the field. How many of these overlooked armies or commands can you name?

One of these overlooked armies is the Army of Virginia, the principal federal army engaged in the Battle of Second Manassas. This short-lived army, which was created on June 26, 1862, was commanded by the recently transferred Major General John Pope and brought together 3 disparate commands from across northern Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley into one central organization.

The three commanders of these once independent commands included: General Nathaniel Banks, General Irvin McDowell (commander of the federal forces at First Manassas) and General Franz Sigel (who had replaced the one-time presidential candidate and explorer John C. Fremont). Pope’s job was to guard the Virginia Central Railway and to protect Washington DC if Confederate forces moved north.

In the lead up to Second Manassas, The Army of Virginia was being reinforced by elements of the more well-known Army of the Potomac, including the V Corps under General Fitz John Porter.



Image 1: Wisconsin Historical Society, black and white photograph of soldiers of the 7th Wisconsin in a line
Image 2: LOC, General Irvin McDowell and staff pose on the portico of Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial
Image 3: LOC, black and white image of nine officers of the 5th Corps, including its commander Fitz John Porter, and an African American cook posed in front of tent.
Goals! This guy visited all 422 National Park Service locations, the last one being Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery
I am very concerned that the focus at Arlington House has changed to be one concentrating on slavery. I have heard that a long-time docent recently was told she no longer is welcome as a docent when asked about telling the Custis and Lee story when the presentation for docents returning for the reopening of Arlington House seemed to be only focused on slavery. I am planning to visit and hope to hear about the "whole" story which is also about the Lee family.
continues as Gregory McGruder shares the experience of singing with Jubilee Voices on the portico of Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, which recently re-opened with exhibits remembering the lives of those enslaved. Hear Greg's story and learn more about the new exhibits: https://www.npr.org/2021/06/08/1004433194/arlington-house-the-robert-e-lee-memorial-reckons-with-its-history-of-slavery
Date of Visit: 27 Jun 2021- Want to acknowledge a Park Ranger by the name of Karima Hurt. After our self guided tour of the house, we came out of the home, my husband stopped to ask her a question, which led to others & she was more than willing to talk with us & fill us in on history that's not in the books. Her enthusiasm knowledge & personality just shines thru. The information that she has really needs to be written down & shared with 1 & all, this is what history is about. Ms. Hurt even spent her break time with us to answer our questions. She is truly an asset to your organization & we wanted to share this with you & hope you share it with her.
Fernando & Melanie Correa
This rare stereoview, from the Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial museum collection, is thought to feature Selina Gray and two of her daughters. Selina Gray was the personal maid of Mary Anna Randolph Custis Lee, the wife of Robert E. Lee. Featured behind the family is most likely the South Slave Quarters building, which contained the family’s personal quarters. Here Selina Gray lived with her eight children and husband, Thornton Gray. Selina was a close confidant of Mrs. Lee. It is said that she and her husband Thornton were married in the family parlor at the estate, underneath the same archway Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Lee were married under in 1831.

It was to Selina that Mrs. Lee left the keys to Arlington House as the family fled the estate in 1861. They fled ahead of Union seizure of the estate due to its strategic location outside of Washington, DC at the start of the American Civil War. Early in the Union occupancy of the estate, Selina was instrumental in saving relics that belonged to President George Washington, passed down in the family by Mrs. Lee’s father, George Washington Parke Custis, step-grandson of President Washington.
The curator for Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial and the George Washington Memorial Parkway, Kimberly Robinson, recently sat down with our friends at George Washington's Mount Vernon and a member of the descendant community, Steve Hammond, to discuss exhibitions at both sites.
“Visitors are encouraged to come to the space and challenge what you know to be true” about the nation’s painful history: Arlington House in Virginia reopens to the public.

Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial