Before Arlington National Cemetery there was the cemeteries in Alexandria, Virginia.
The Alexandria National Cemetery holds the graves of many notable figures, including Samuel Cooper, James Mason, Julius Campbell, Dennis Ramsey, Robert Allison Jr., and Wilmer McLean. Each of these individuals have had an impact on history, whether through their service in the military, their political work, or other contributions.
Wilmer McLean: 1:25
Robert Allison Jr: 3:16
Dennis Ramsey: 3:57
Douglas Cemetery: 4:37
Julius Campbell: 5:01
James Mason: 8:23
Samuel Cooper: 9:32
Lincoln Assassin Pursuers: 10:40
Hoof’s Run: 12:06
Episode 97 – Alexandria Cemetery
Episode 97 – Alexandria Cemetery
Jenn: Join me today on Walk With History as we talk about some notable people buried here in Alexandria, Virginia.
It’s actually when this cemetery ran outta space in 1864 that MI Meg starts to look for another area and they find Arlington Estate. Robert e Lee’s former home. He becomes Arlington National Cemetery. The cemeteries here in Alexandria, they’re as old as they are, are separated by religion. So when you get here, it’s St.
Paul’s Episcopal Cemetery. It’s the Presbyterian Cemetery. It’s the Methodist. Protestant Cemetery. So these are very much separated by religion. Again, Hamilton and Wilkes, they have, um, flyers here that can help you find the graves. If you go straight down Wilkes here and don’t turn on Hamilton, you hit the national cemetery and that’s where all the national graves are.
All the soldiers are buried down there.
So I’m standing here at the grave of Wilbur McLean, and McLean was born May 3rd. 18, 14 to June 5th, 1882. You can kind of see it there to the 68th year of his age. What’s interesting about McLean is he was a grocer from Manasas, Virginia, and his, um, his house was involved in the first battle of the Civil War, the Battle of Bull Run.
In 1861, and he was so upset, uh, about the fighting that happened right by his house that he moved and he moved away to Appomattox and thinking he would escape the war, thinking he would be, he would be safe. And then in 1865, Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant met in his house in Appomattox, and that’s where the surrender of the Civil War took place.
So unfortunately, uh, Wilmer McLean couldn’t escape the war altogether. He was involved in the very first battle and the very end. Uh, and this is his grave here and he’s buried recite his wife Virginia, and it looks like their daughter. Seemed to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, and then the, uh, right place at the right time.
So when you visit Appomattox and you visit the home where the surrender took place for the Civil War, you’re visiting. The McLean home and he’s actually within view of the female stranger, and we’ve done that video before. So the female stranger is pretty much right across the roadway. And then McLean is right here.
So this is the grave of Robert Allison Jr. And he has a very unique story, the British Occupation. Alexandria and Washington DC only lasted five days. In 1814, the city surrendered all its merchant ships, the military supplies and goods in its warehouse. The only shots fired after British ships sailed out of Alexandria and down the Potomac was a small battery at White House Landing.
And they engaged the British ships that came past and then they ended up founding on the Shoals. One of the Americans killed in the two day battle of the White House landing was Robert Allison Jr.
So I am here at the grave of Dennis Ramsey and Colonel Dennis Ramsey fought in the Revolutionary War. One of George was. Paul Bearers. He’s buried here with his family. He is not far away from, uh, Allison. They’re almost like right beside each other here. So here’s Ramsey. Allison is right over there. So you walk down the main road and then they’re very close here in proximity.
But here’s Dennis Ramsey.
Uh, this was founded in 1895 as a non-denominational segregated cemetery. For Alexandria’s African-Americans, uh, it’s named in Avner, Frederick Douglass, who was an American abolitionist and writer, statesman or, and former slave from the Douglas Cemetery. You cross. Wilke Street is the grave of Julius Campbell Jr.
And you know Julius Campbell Jr. From Remember the Titans Honesty? You want honesty? Alright. Honestly, I think you’re. Nothing but a pure waste of God-given talent. You don’t listen to nobody, man. Not even Docker, Boone Shiver. Push on the line every time, man. You blow right past them. I’m supposed to wear myself out for the team.
What team? No, no. What I’m gonna do is I’m gonna look out for myself and I’m gonna get mine. See, man, that’s the worst attitude I ever. Attitude reflect leadership. Captain December 5th, 1953 to December 25th, 2019. Beloved, father, grandfather, husband, son, brother, uncle, you will forever be loved and missed.
And on the other side is his picture and his number 81. Remember the Titan? So I love the movie, remember The Titans as far as football movies are concerned, and I’m a big football fan because my father was a high school football coach. As far as football movies are concerned, it’s my, probably my favorite.
Remember the Titans is probably my favorite. And Julius Campbell, uh, in the movie, if you remember, he’s the African American captain of the football team. So what’s going on in that movie? I have some history here. So in Alexandria 1971, , which is kind of late when you think about it. The black high school, Francis Hammond and the white high school, George Washington became TC Williams High School in 1971, and a junior on the football team stepped up as a leader and that was Julius Campbell.
His real test of his athletic ability and character came in the 1971. 1972 season after the city moved all high school juniors and seniors to TC Williams. So they put all, uh, African Americans and. Into one high school, TC Williams High School, and all players had to compete to make the sports teams and they had to compete against each other.
And so the high school was here in Alexandria. Can you imagine Campbell and linebacker, Jerry Beier became very close friends and stepped up as leaders, and Beier was white. I just love that movie and I love the, their friendship between the two. They were both the captains of the football team. Here’s a football team who’s getting over their racial differences to overcome and to become champions of the entire state.
It made the high school come together. It made the people of Alexandria come together. So what Campbell did with his fellow teammate, Is just amazing. And, uh, with his athletic ability, he was able to overcome such adversity, but he’s not forgotten and, uh, definitely wanna celebrate him. All right. You really stuck in Campbell.
Yeah. I love me. Little contact Beatie. This is last side.
I am here with James Mason and he’s in the Episcopal side of the cemetery here at Alexandria. What’s so interesting about James Mason, he’s one of the first Virginia representatives to go with the Confederate Congress in February of 1861. He gives, he’s giving a diplomatic assignment, which is very interesting.
So he said, sell on a Confederate convoy to Britain to have England. The Confederacy during the Civil War, and they’re on the RMS Trent. But that ship was stopped by an American Union ship on November 8th, 1861, and the Trent Affair, as it comes to be known, threatens to bring Britain into the war with the United States because they would side with the Confederacy, cuz who knows what the Confederacy would give them.
Who knows what would’ve happened if they would’ve made it over to England and maybe they would’ve won to back the Confederacy in the. But thank goodness they were stopped and then England saw the Confederacy really wasn’t the winning side and decided not to enter the world all.
So I am in front of the grave of Samuel Cooper, major Samuel Cooper, who fought in the Revolutionary War. He actually, it says here, he fought at Bunker Hill, Trenton, Brandy Wine, Germantown and Monmouth. He’s a Valen soldier. Uh, he was very young in 1776. He was born in 1750. So he was about 20 years old, uh, on the onset of 1776.
But, um, he was bar, he was part of the Boston Tea Party and as the, at the Boston Tea Party, he’s very young, but what’s interesting is he’s buried here beside. Probably his son, Samuel Cooper, who became a general in the Confederacy. And what’s interesting about this Samuel Cooper Confederate General, is his rank was even higher than Robert E.
Lee. That’s pretty amazing. Um, kids. The CSA is Confederate States of America. He has the star and then his father beside him has, you know, daughters of the American Revolution and then Sons of the American Revolution. He has both of those stars.
I am here in the National Cemetery of Alexandria. This is a cemetery where you have to have served in the United States military to have been to be buried here. These were started during the Civil War when so many casualties were happening and they needed this, uh, find a way to bury the men who had given their lives in pursuit.
Keeping the union together. Interesting memorial here at, uh, Alexandria’s National Cemetery is an honor of Peter Carol, Samuel Ganell, George Washington, Huntington, and Christopher Farley, who lost their lives April 24th, 1865. Well, in the pursuit of. The assassin of our beloved President Abraham Lincoln.
It’s actually when this cemetery ran outta space in 1864 that me, Meg starts to look for another area and they find Arlington estate. Robert Lee’s former home. Here comes Arlington National Cemetery.
So behind Alexandria National Cemetery, you see this kind of waterway. It’s in the back part of the cemetery. It’s called Hoofs Run. And this waterway has a very interesting history. So when enslaved ships would come over here to America and D and Alexandria enslaved, Women and children who were held in the slave prisons here and the slave markets here were forced to bathe here in ho’s run prior to making, prior to being sold, uh, prior to making their journeys into Mississippi, into Alabama, into Louisiana.
And of course after making that trek across Africa, you know, they were lying in their own filth. They were. To lie in their own filth, and so this is where they would bring them to bathe them. And so it’s an important part of Alexandria’s history. Like I said, it’s here on the backside of the Alexandria National Cemetery, so this entire area.
The cemetery complex came into being after a yellow fever epidemic that swept Alexandria in 1803. It overwhelmed the town. Uh, over 300 people died. These 13 separate cemeteries and the complex consists of Christian and Jewish cemeteries, and nine of the cemeteries are still active today, but there’s over 30.
Thousand people buried in these cemeteries. Uh, we just did a couple of them today for you, couple of the more notable ones, and of course the national cemetery here. But if you ever get a chance to get out here and visit, I definitely recommend it. It was very historic. Very interesting. Lots of stories, lots of history, and it’s all waiting here for you.
It’s open to the public and it’s right here in the heart of Alexander Virginia onto my next walk of history.