Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Memorial Bridge over the Potomac River at Sunrise. In the distance, just left of center, is the Custis-Lee Mansion on the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery. I'm standing in Washington, D.C. and on the western side of the bridge and river is Virginia.

Memorial Bridge connects Washington, D.C., with Virginia and leads one to Arlington National Cemetery. If you recall, during the Civil War, Virginia sided with the Confederacy while Washington, D.C., remained the federal capitol of the Union. Even though Maryland sided with the Union, its loyalty was dubious at times, which left Washington surrounded. Amazingly, Confederate soldiers never set foot in the District of Columbia.

The mansion atop Arlington Cemetery's highest hill features the Custis-Lee Mansion, which was the estate of Robert E. Lee's wife's family--the Custises. Mary Custis was the daughter of General George and Martha Washington's step-grandson, George Washington Parke Custis. When Lee sided with Virginia and the Confederacy, his family left Arlington House. During the Civil War, Quartermaster Gen. Montgomery Meigs resented Lee siding with the South and began burying the Union dead on the grounds of Arlington House, thereby ensuring that Lee would be unable to lay claim to the house at the end of the war.

Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential, 10/07.

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