FOUNDING THROUGH CIVIL WAR
1 Dolley Madison, first-lady spy
First lady Dolley Madison established an observation post on the White House roof in 1814 to watch for the approaching British army. While fleeing to avoid capture, she saved the Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington before the White House was set ablaze.
White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
2 Winder Building Signal Corps cupola
One of the highest points in Washington at the time of the Civil War, the cupola of the Winder Building was chosen by the Union Signal Corps for point-to-point visual communications with nearby camps and forts.
600 17th St. NW
3 Lowe balloon launch site
Professor Thaddeus S. C. Lowe conducted the first aerial combat reconnaissance in our nation’s history from a tethered balloon west of Washington. On June 24, 1861, he observed and reported Confederate Cavalry activity.
Fort Taylor Park, N. Roosevelt St. and Ridge Pl., Falls Church, Va.
4 Mansion House Hotel
Sarah Emma Edmonds claimed to have donned multiple disguises and personas as a Union spy, including a young man, Irish peddler and African American laundress. Later, she worked as a nurse at the Mansion House Hotel, which had been converted to a Union hospital.The hotel, once located in front of the Carlyle House, has since been demolished.
121 N. Fairfax St., Alexandria, Va.
5 Kirkwood House Hotel
The Kirkwood House Hotel was at times home to Benjamin Franklin Stringfellow, a spy of many disguises, who has been called the “Confederate James Bond.” George Atzerodt, a conspirator in Lincoln’s assassination, also stayed at the hotel; he was assigned to kill Vice President Andrew Johnson, who lived at Kirkwood House, but he lost his nerve, drank heavily and fled.
12th Street and Pennsylvania Ave. NW
6 Gardner Gallery
Alexander Gardner’s photographs provide an invaluable historical record of the Civil War, but at the time they were also used to identify spies and for cartography. His photographs of Ford’s Theatre following Lincoln’s assassination are among the first crime scene photographs.
511 Seventh St. NW
7 Old Capitol Prison
Sprawling across the site of what is now the Supreme Court building, the Old Capitol Prison held two of the most infamous Confederate spies, Belle Boyd, who was arrested many times and released, increasing her fame, and Rose O’Neal Greenhow, whose information aided the Confederacy in its victory at the First Battle of Bull Run.
First and East Capitol Streets NE
8 Surratt boarding house
Southern sympathizer Mary Surratt ran a boarding house that served as a safe house and base of operations for conspirators in Lincoln’s assassination.
604 H St. NW
1 Maj. Ralph Van Deman. PHOTO: INSCOM
3 Lowe balloon launch site. PHOTO: LIbrary of Congress
2 Attorney Gen. A. Mitchell Palmer’s residence after the explosion. PHOTO: Library of Congress