On May 23rd, 1861, the people of Virginia ratified the Ordinance of Secession, formally entering the Civil War on the side of the new Confederate States of America, and putting the District of Columbia in peril. Within hours of this historic vote, thousands of Union soldiers in Washington prepared to protect the city by retaking its southern neighbor: Arlington.

To mark the 159th anniversary of the Union Army’s arrival in Arlington, Fort C.F. Smith Park Historian John McNair led an online lecture that detailed this crucial moment in Arlington County’s history. Recorded May 23, 2020. This video runs for 55 min and 50 sec.