Stafford Courthouse

The site of an earlier courthouse, the current (1920s) building stands near the land route passage of Washington’s and Rochambeau’s Revolutionary War column transiting to and from Yorktown. During the Civil War, the courthouse was raided by Sickles’ brigade in April 1862 (during which many documents were destroyed, damaged and stolen) and a number of Union headquarters and camps surrounded it in the winter of 1863. At this site, in April 1863, President Lincoln and Major General Oliver Otis Howard conferred, leading to Howard’s later appointment to head the Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands Bureau, a major force during Reconstruction, and his role in founding Howard University (Washington, D.C.) and Lincoln Memorial University (Tennessee) for poor blacks and whites respectively. Nearby in a camp in February 1863, Captain Robert Gould Shaw, 2nd Massachusetts Infantry, was offered command of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry, composed of African American soldiers and made famous in the film, “Glory.”