Vice President, Media & Communications
MOUNT VERNON, VA – A tree that stood at Mount Vernon as Washington returned home from the presidency and then was carved into by soldiers during the Civil War has fallen. During the evening of November 4, the estate’s last oak tree with Civil War carvings standing on its property fell. Mount Vernon’s director of horticulture, Dean Norton, estimates the fallen tree to be from the 1780s timeframe.
“You hate to see a living witness to the life and times of George and Martha Washington go, especially a tree that has a connection to another significant historical period of Mount Vernon,” said Dean Norton, director of horticulture.
In 1865 at the conclusion of the Civil War, two union regiments visited Mount Vernon before or after participating in the Grand Review of the Armies held in Washington DC on May 23-24 1865 and carved their insignias into three trees at Mount Vernon. The first tree fell around 40 years ago, the second tree fell in August of 2018. The third historic tree, which fell on November 4, included carvings of a star and a cross, documented in the records of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association to have been carved by Union soldiers visiting Mount Vernon during the Civil War. The tree came down on its own accord in the middle of the night.
The wood from the fallen tree will be used by Mount Vernon’s preservation department and the rest will be turned into products for Mount Vernon’s use.
The estate was considered neutral territory during the Civil War. According to Mount Vernon’s research historian, close to 200 Federal regiments are known to have visited Mount Vernon from 1861 through 1865.