Categories
Historic America

Yellow Tavern Battlefield in Henrico County, Virginia

Development has nearly erased this key Civil War battle, in which the South’s most famous cavalry commander was mortally wounded.

The Battle of Yellow Tavern was fought on May 11, 1864 between Union cavalry commanded by Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan and Confederate cavalry commanded by Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart in Henrico County, Virginia during the American Civil War. This nominal Union victory, part of Ulysses S. Grant’s Overland Campaign, was notable mainly for the mortal wounding and death of J.E.B. Stuart, which deprived Robert E. Lee of his finest cavalry commander.

On May 9, 1864, Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan rode south with 10,000 Union cavalry and 30 horse artillery to confront his Confederate counterpart, who had a reputation for invincibility. Stuart and his Confederates, however, could only muster around 4,500 troopers to confront him. Sheridan raided a supply depot at Beaver Dam Station on May 10 and continued south toward the Confederate capital of Richmond. On the morning of May 11, Stuart’s exhausted troopers arrived at the intersection of Telegraph and Mountain roads near an abandoned inn called Yellow Tavern.

Categories
Photography Roadside America

Alexandria Ghost Sign

Old brick ad for Walter Roberts Inc Hay Grain, Flour, and Feed Office in Alexandria, Virginia. Today on the side of Virtue Feed & Grain restaurant, 106 S. Union Street.

Categories
Mysterious America

The Falling Ghosts of Carlyle House Historic Park

From colonial aristocratic manor to dilapidated squatter’s nest to historic landmark, Carlyle House has survived centuries, but eyewitnesses claim something otherworldly has survived with it.

A Colonial Era ruin uncovered after decades hidden behind an antebellum hotel should be enough to ignite storytellers’ imaginations, but it’s reports of numerous apparitions that make Carlyle House in Alexandria, Virginia a mandatory stop on any local ghost tour. Built by Scottish merchant John Carlyle on premier lots along the Potomac River from 1751 to 1753, this mid-Georgian stone manor is older than our country. History was made in its parlor.

John Carlyle (1720-1780) began his career as an apprentice to an English merchant, but soon made his own fortune in the British colonies. He married Sarah Fairfax, daughter of William Fairfax, who was a cousin to the largest land owner in Virginia. Carlyle himself became quite wealthy, with three plantations, dozens of slaves, and several business interests.

In the French and Indian War, British General Edward Braddock used Carlyle House as his headquarters before he embarked on his ill-fated campaign into western Pennsylvania. During a conference with colonial governors at the house, Braddock and the governors clashed over British demands for the colonies to fund his campaign, an early source of tension that later led to the Revolutionary War.

Categories
Historic America

The Battle of Mamaroneck, Oct. 1776

A surprise attack on Rogers’ Rangers ends in defeat for American forces in this little-known Revolutionary War skirmish.

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The Battle of Mamaroneck (also known as the Skirmish of Heathcote Hill) was fought on October 22, 1776 between American patriot troops commanded by Col. John Haslet and British loyalist forces commanded by Maj. Robert Rogers in Westchester County, New York during the American Revolutionary War. The battle ended in British victory when Rogers’ men rallied and drove off their attackers.

Maj. Robert Rogers was the celebrated commander of an irregular force called Rogers’ Rangers during the French and Indian War. He stayed loyal to the British during the Revolution and formed the Queen’s Rangers. When George Washington retreated to White Plains, New York after a series of disastrous defeats, the Continental Army found Rogers’ 400-man regiment encamped at Mamaroneck, separated from the main British army.

The task fell on Col. John Haslet and his 750-man regiment, the “Delaware Blues”, to isolate and destroy Rogers’ force. They approached in total darkness, where they stumbled upon a well-placed advanced guard of 60 men. Though the Patriots overwhelmed them and captured 30 men, the struggle alerted Rogers to their attack.

Categories
Historic America Photography

Goolrick’s Drugs

Goolrick's Drugs
Gorgeous neon sign for Goolrick’s Pharmacy, 901 Caroline Street in downtown Fredericksburg, Virginia. Goolrick’s Pharmacy and soda fountain has been operating since 1867.
Categories
Mysterious America

Does a ‘Female Stranger’ Still Linger at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum?

After more than 200 years, the mystery of the ‘Female Stranger’ continues to fascinate visitors to this Alexandria, Virginia landmark. Some say her ghost never left.

Alexandria, Virginia is an old town filled with historic buildings, populated by ghosts and legends. No less than 49 sites in Alexandria are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Perhaps the most legendary is Gadsby’s Tavern at the corner of Cameron and Royal streets. Its mysterious tale of the “Female Stranger” has confounded local historians and folklorists for over 200 years.

In the late 1700s, Alexandria was the social center of northern Virginia. Charles and Anne Mason first recognized the potential for a tavern and opened a business at the corner of Royal and Cameron streets. With the end of the Revolutionary War, an entrepreneur named John Wise built a new tavern in 1785 and a hotel in 1792, red brick buildings which still exist to this day. John Gadsby leased and operated the establishments from 1796 to 1808, when Alexandria became part of the new Federal District of Washington, DC.

In those early years, Gadsby’s Tavern hosted travelers from all over the colonies, including prominent men like George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, and the Marquis de Lafayette. It was considered a premier establishment, hosting parties and balls in its large hall. It was during this heyday when the legend of the mysterious “Female Stranger” took root.

Categories
Photography Roadside America

Let’s Eat

Neon sign for the Twenty Four Hundred Diner, 2400 Princess Anne Street in Fredericksburg, Virginia.