Battlefield Guide Services

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Additional Thoughts and Images on the McClellan "mystery"

     See my previous post from 8-19-13, for the complete story.

     Further delving into the happenings of March 1862 indicated a strong possibility that the meeting of General Morell with General McClellan took place on March 9 or 10, prior to McClellan moving the army and his headquarters to Fairfax Courthouse.  However, additional information has shown that the image of the General-in-Chief and accompanying officers was copyrighted on January 6, 1862, making the date of its being taken some three months earlier than suspected. Further details are presented in our October 2nd post.  By March, the Peninsula Campaign would be under way. Observation points such as Minor's Hill provided indication of the Confederate withdrawal from the Fairfax and Manassas region.
     Below is a detail from a view said to be the "Miner House". The Library of Congress source states the location is "Petersburg, Va" although a second source in the MOLLUS-Mass collection of the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center is titled Miner's House, Miner's Hill, Va.  Click on any image for larger viewing.
     Take special note of the dark sign on the wall next to the right hand window, and compare it to the one seen in the image below, at the extreme left of the print from the LOC. That, along with the fence like rail and other features of the building make it doubtless the same structure. Knowing that this is indicated to be the headquarters for General George Morell, we can rule out this is Petersburg altogether since Morell was no longer in a field command position after the Antietam Campaign. Numerous sources state the location is "Miner's Hill", near Falls Church. As stated before, the spelling "Miner" is a common misspelling of the day for "Minor", the name of the property since the late 1700's. The area today includes the Franklin Forest and Franklin Park neighborhoods, near the western Arlington County line.
     The complete view of the Signal Tower is shown below. It is identical to the one in the image with General Morell, and perhaps taken around the same time as the McClellan visit. It is also worth noting in the background of the above image, there are arches decorated with greenery, an ornamentation used in the entrance to company streets in many camp situations. We will see this feature again in another image later.

      Take note of the features of the building visible in the right hand portion of the image below. It is the same structure as above, clearly identified as the Minor House, on Minor's Hill, Va.

     Take note of the decorated arched in the background of the photograph below, depicting the camp of the 17th New York Infantry in review, at Miner's Hill, Virginia, vicinity of Falls Church. Very much like the arches seen in the identified photograph of General George Webb Morell at the Minor's Hill Signal Tower.
     Finally, below, here is the copy from the MOLLUS collection, USAHEC, identified as the Miner House on Miner's Hill, Va., not Petersburg as misidentified with the LOC negative. I see no further doubt that the "mysterious location" of the McClellan image is solved. 


Anonymous said...


Stephen Masters said...

The Minor house is located on minors hills. The current family owned it since 1907 however it has been purchased and due to be demolished in a few weeks. Nobody is paying attention to this historic location! The home has changed over the years and only the chimney and some of the walls remained. If anybody knows who to talk to try and save this from the wrecking ball, please do so! I have photos of the house , please email to and I will forward.