Orange and Alexandria RailroadDefenses of Washington

August Faul and Orange and Alexandria Railroad Company, "Map and profile of the Orange and Alexandria Rail Road with its Warrenton Branch and a portion of the Manasses [sic] Gap Rail Road, to show its point of connection,” Map, [New York, 1854], Library of Congress.

E. G Arnold and G. Woolworth Colton, "Topographical map of the original District of Columbia and environs showing the fortifications around the city of Washington,” Map, New York: G. Woolworth Colton, 1862, Library of Congress.

  • Orange and Alexandria Railroad
  • Defenses of Washington

Alexandria, Virginia's role in the Civil War

In April 1861, war within the United States became a reality. Confederate troops fired on Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States. Virginia’s citizens voted to secede from the Union in May 1861 and the next morning Federal troops took control of Alexandria.


Examine the maps carefully and answer the questions below:
What features made Alexandria, Virginia an important transportation hub before the Civil War?
What are the different types of transportation methods you can see on the map?