Their farm was adjacent to six Union forts protecting Washington and was occupied by a succession of Union troops. Fences and timber were removed to build forts and corduroy roads and for firewood. A stable with over 1,000 horses was built on their property and Union soldiers boarded in their home. According to a 1975 Oral History interview by his granddaughter Mrs. Janet Hayes Baldwin, twelve-year-old Alonzo was hit in the heel by a stray shell from a Union fort across the river and limped for the rest of his days. Alonzo also caught smallpox from the troops but survived with no scarring. The family would entertain soldier visitors who were well-behaved but seemed to be homesick, but the widowed mother would sometimes send her daughters upstairs during those visits.
The site of Sunnyside Farm is now the Arlington Science Focus School and children still play on the lawn of Emily Hayes Park, which was donated to Arlington County by Janet Baldwin’s maiden aunt Emily Hayes.
The photograph above was marked for publication, and shows Company L, Second New York Artillery, at Fort C. F. Smith in August, 1865. The original is owned by the Library of Congress.
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Do you know about Civil War events in Arlington? Is there evidence of the war on your property? Let us hear from you!