What Happened to George Washington’s Home During the US Civil War?

A1FA8ED7-DE53-41D2-8B8B-FE71DE808131

Mount Vernon Today (MountVernon.org)


BE82D933-7CA1-4B36-B401-06599D4EADE3

Military pass signed by General Winfield Scott for Sarah Tracy of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association. The document enables her to pass “through the United States lines” to get to Mount Vernon during the Civil War; dated October 2, 1861.


The outbreak of the Civil War provided significant challenges to the preservation of George Wagington’s home at Mount Vernon, as the sectional crisis occurred during the infancy of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association. The violent nature of the conflict could have destroyed Mount Vernon as a physical structure while also tearing up the personal threads that bound the nascent Association. Despite the challenges, the Association was able to keep the property protected and open to the public during the war.

940B9545-4FBF-4887-8365-B6BB962B52E1

An early image of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association—the group that singlehandedly saved the home of George Washington for posterity.


The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association took over operation of the estate in 1860 in an effort to stabilize and restore the mansion. As restoration efforts progressed, the political situation in the United States deteriorated. Mount Vernon, as a result, was in a precarious position. At the same time, Ann Pamela Cunningham was forced to return to her family home in South Carolina in the fall of 1860 to help run the family plantation following her father’s death.

Above: George and Martha Washington’s bed chambers at Mount Vernon.

With the conflict making travel difficult for Cunningham, the estate was managed by two staff members during the Civil War; a Northerner and a Southerner. Cunningham’s secretary, Sarah C. Tracy and Upton H. Herbert, Mount Vernon’s first Resident Superintendent, managed the estate through the war years. There were also free African-American employees working at the estate, including Emily the cook, Priscilla the chambermaid, Frances, a maid, and George, the coachman and general assistant.1

D69D44EB-82A4-460D-B5BD-99CF22754C6D

Sarah Tracy, pictured above in an image taken in 1859, watched over the Mount Vernon estate during the six-year-long Civil War—her efforts ensured its safety as a piece of American history.


Cunningham believed that it was imperative that no military outposts were placed within the borders of the estate in order to physically protect the property. After a visit from Tracy, on July 31, 1861 General Winfield Scott issued Order Number 13, declaring the estate’s status as non-partisan. A large proportion of the visitors during the war were still soldiers, though without military aims. Soldiers who visited the estate were requested to be neither armed nor dressed in military uniform. Such actions ensured that Mount Vernon remained neutral, respected grounds.

Above, left: Mount Vernon’s 8’1” high cupola; above, right: the Washington’s dining room.

The end of the conflict had an immediate positive impact on the preservation of Mount Vernon. In November 1866 Cunningham was able to travel to meet with her Vice Regents and staff for the first time in six years. The Ladies’ Association passed a resolution reflecting a new post-war optimism, expressing their “unqualified approval of the manner in which the Superintendent and the Secretary had discharged the arduous duties committed to their charge. . .under difficult circumstances, the Mansion and grounds under their charge have been so well preserved and protected.”2 Despite the challenges, Mount Vernon remained safe and open throughout the war.

67D006A5-6667-4C65-A3C7-DEAC133508BD

The piazza at Mount Vernon faces the Potomac River.


Notes

1. “Mollie ______ to Caroline L. Rees, 21 October 186[1-4],” Kirby Rees Collection, Special Collections, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Virginia; typescript, Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association.

2. Quoted in Dorothy Troth Muir, Presence of a Lady: Mount Vernon, 1861-1868 (Mount Vernon, Virginia: Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, 1975), 86.

Source: https://www.mountvernon.org/library/digitalhistory/digital-encyclopedia/article/the-civil-war-years/

Read more, here:

https://www.mountvernon.org/preservation/mount-vernon-ladies-association/early-history-of-the-mount-vernon-ladies-association/#g-1160_m-everett2

https://www.mountvernon.org/the-estate-gardens/the-mansion/the-mansion-room-by-room/#-

https://www.mountvernon.org/the-estate-gardens/the-mansion/the-mansion-basement/

Great Short Stories, Good Bones, & Jimmy Dean

A stellar short story starts with grand bone structure. Just like a beautiful face. I read a handful of short stories every single night and I have for decades. There are many that are very good. There are those that aren’t very good, but good—and you can see where they went astray, perhaps, where they try too hard or not hard enough. Lots of telling not enough showing—dialogue / prose that doesn’t understand how to reveal character / atmosphere…you’ve heard the schpeel. The ones I choose to share on Social Media—and my blog (thesanguinewoods.com)—I consider to be so very good and often in the great category. There’s just not enough time or room to share them all across the quality spectrum. But I learn something valuable from each and every one I read. A lot of commentary on short fiction is opinion. Things like style and voice are subjective. What you do with the tools of fiction though—the bones of your story—outside of style—the skin of your story; outside of the way you tell your story—the clothing you put it in—is what makes it just good or great or better than great. If the bones of your story aren’t structured to hold the rest in a way that is believable, you can pile on skin and hair and clothes and more clothes—and it won’t matter. (Photo: Jimmy Dean, ca. 1950s)

8A4E062A-8EEE-4828-8A12-5A85983BCA59

Printer’s Devil Court—A Ghost Story by Susan Hill, 2014 (Cover + Excerpt + Link)

3FF95645-3C03-41A5-A7A5-2E9D456145B4

Tonight’s Read: A ghost story/novella by the author of The Woman in Black: Susan Hill. It’s only $2.56 right now on Amazon for Kindle. (Link below).

Hill is a writer with some serious chops.

Here’s Part One (Note: the first panel is a letter that ends with the title of a book. The second panel is missing the header The Book—as what follows on the remaining panels is excerpted from Dr Hugh Meredith’s book.):

About the Author

Susan Hill, CBE (1942- ) is the winner of numerous literary prizes including the Somerset Maugham award for her novel I’m the King of the Castle (1971). She is the author of the Simon Serrailler crime/mystery series and numerous other works of fiction and nonfiction. Hill has written two literary/reading memoirs: Howards End is on the Landing, and Jacob’s Room Is Full of Books; and she is well known for her ghost-story novellas and novels: Dolly, The Man In The Picture, The Small Hand, The Man in the Mist, Printer’s Devil Court, Ms DeWinter (a sequel to Dumaurier’s Rebecca), and her most famous book, The Woman in Black—which was made into a 2012 feature film starring Daniel Radcliffe. (A play based on The Woman in Black has been running continuously in London’s West End for more than 20 years.) In 2012, Hill was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for her service to literature.

Other Books by Susan Hill

Buy the Book…

“I know that bent-neck lady is pretty scary…but that’s all she is…just a little spill.”

6202A406-5A00-4819-A45F-EEF453C31B47

“Remember what we talked about before? About our dreams?”

“They can spill.”

“That’s right. Yeah. Just like a cup of water can spill sometimes. But kids dreams are special. They’re like…”

”An ocean.”

”An ocean. That’s right. And the big dreams can spill out sometimes….Now I know that bent-neck lady can be pretty scary. But that’s all she is. She’s just a little spill.”

”How long do we have to live here, Daddy?”

”Well, your mother and I, we have to finish fixing this house. And then, someone has to buy it.”

“Then we can go?”

“Yep. Then we can go.”


No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against the hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily. against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.

—Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House, 1959

 

 

What’s on the Tube? “The Damned”—A 2013 IFC Midnight Film, Directed by Víctor García. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

What would you do if, after seeking shelter from a flash flood, you found a young girl padlocked in a room in the basement of creepy old house in Colombia? … Let her out?

The Damned—an IFC Midnight film is streaming on Netflix. ⭐️⭐️⭐️ It’s other name is a better name I think, since the house used to be a hotel called Gallows Hill, although, why a name like that would draw guests to stay overnight is beyond me.

It has a few subtitles here and there, for clarification’s sake, but the film is in English. I’m about a half of the way through and so far I really like it. I suppose it could go either way—but usually, if I like a movie by half-way in, it turns out to be a worthwhile watch for me. The film has a nice atmosphere. It won an award in 2015 and was nominated for another. Here are some links…

Awards:

At Premios Macondo (2015)-Festival Award Winner for Best Make Up Artist: Olga Turrini Bernardoni; and at Sitges – Catalonian International Film Festival (2013)-Maria Nominee for Best Motion Picture.

Blurb:

The Damned, also known as Gallows Hill, is a 2013 American horror film directed by Víctor García. The film stars Peter Facinelli, Sophia Myles, Nathalia Ramos, and Carolina Guerra. The film features a family and group of friends stranded in a storm and looking to seek refuge in a house with an ancient evil presence. The film was produced by Peter Block, Andrea Chung, and David Higgins, and is a joint Colombian and American production. The film had its world premiere at the Sitges Film Festival on October 17, 2014 (nominated Best Picture) and was released on video on demand on July 25, 2014, before a limited release by IFC Midnight on August 29, 2014.

More Here (Spoilers!):

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Damned_(2013_film)

https://www.indiewire.com/2014/02/ifc-films-nets-thriller-gallows-hill-30226/

EA7C23AD-3E29-4CB1-B77B-FE8AF74401D8

From The Phantom Ship by Frederick Marryat, with Art by H. R. Millar, 1896

The Phantom Ship ... Illustrated by H. R. Millar. With an introd