CLCrow Photography Blog

Capturing Life At Its Best

Civil War Photo Tour

With the 150th anniversary of the Civil War less than a year away, I thought that I would do a tour of Washington that every place had significance during one of the tumultuous times in our nation’s history.


Metro Stop: Metro Center

the Willard has been the center of the social and political life in Washington DC since it first opened in the early 1800s.  On February 23, 1861, amid several assassination threats, detective Allan Pinkerton smuggled Abraham Lincoln into the Washington DC during the weeks before his inauguration; Lincoln lived at the Willard until his inauguration on March 4, holding meetings in the lobby and carrying on business from his room.


Metro Stop: Capitol South

After leaving the Willard, head over to Metro Center and take the Metro to the Capitol South stop. Unlike today’s presidents who are swore in on the West Portico, then President -Elect Lincoln was sworn in on the East Portico of the Capitol (side facing away from the Mall) on March 4, 1861.  At the time of his inauguration, the dome of the Capitol building was still under construction.  Note: John Wilkes Booth was in attendance when President Lincoln gave his second Inaugural Address.


The U.S. Grant Memorial Statue is an equestrian statue honoring Civil War general and President of the United States Ulysses S. Grant located at the base of Capitol Hill. The statue faces west toward the Lincoln Memorial honoring Grant’s Commander in Chief – President Abraham Lincoln.


Head down Constitution to the short walk to the National Archives. As of this post, there is at least one exhibit pertinent to the Civil War – Discovering the Civil War .


From the Archives, take the metro to the McPherson Square stop.  On the third floor of the White House (part of the first family’s private residence) is the Lincoln Bedroom which has a bed that Mary Lincoln purchased that as far as historians know President Lincoln never slept in.  Also in the room is the last known hand written by President Lincoln copy of the Gettysburg Address .  The room was used by Lincoln as his office.


Follow the same path that President Lincoln followed whenever he went to the theater – head down E Street to 10th Street.  Turn left onto 10th and the theatre is right next to Hard Rock Cafe.  Petersen House is right across the street.  Ford’s Theatre is still a working theater.

On April 14, 1865, President and Mrs. Lincoln attended the play Our American Cousin when John Wilkes Booth snuck into the Presidential Box and shot President Lincoln in the back of the head.  Booth then jumped onto the stage and yelled “Sic Sempter Tyrannus” (Thus Always to Tyrants) and escaped into the night.  He was cornered and killed after a 12 day manhunt.

President Lincoln was carried across the street to Petersen House where he died early the next morning.  After his death, Edward Stanton declared, “He Now Belongs to the Ages.”


Unfortunately there is no metro station near the memorial.  Dedicated in 1922 honoring the man who saved the union.  Directly above  the statue the words, “In this temple as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the union the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever.” Lincoln’s two most famous speeches – The Gettysburg Address and 2nd Inaugural Address are etched in the walls of the memorial.


Metro Stop: Arlington Cemetery

The final stop on the Civil War Photo tour appropriately enough is just over the Arlington Memorial Bridge – Arlington National Cemetery.  The good news is there is a metro stop at Arlington, the bad news, its the closest stop to the Lincoln Memorial.

The house and land was once owned by Confederate General Robert E. Lee but it was confiscated before the end of the war and was made into a national cemetery.  Abraham Lincoln’s oldest son Robert Todd Lincoln is buried there.


May 8, 2010 - Posted by | Photo Tour Series | , , , , , , , , ,

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