In April 1861 at the start of the war, the D.C. area was a hub of activity. Virginia militia was gathering in Arlington Heights - a prime location since it overlooked the Capitol. Petworth was still farmland with Union encampments springing up nearby. Construction was beginning on the ring of forts that would soon surround the city. Lincoln's cottage retreat -- the precursor to Camp David -- was nearby at the Old Soldiers' Home. And 16th Street didn't exist yet; the main road around town was Georgia Ave.

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