VA-T50 Masons Hill

Marker text: MASON'S HILL

During the Civil War, Confederate Col. J.E.B. Stuart used Mason's Hill and nearby Munson's Hill as outposts for the First Virginia Cavalry from late July to the end of Sept. 1861. Capt. Edward Porter Alexander of the Signal Corps established a signal station on Mason's Hill. On the Mason residence's observation tower, he installed a six-foot "astronomical glass" to observe Washington, D.C. The telescope could "count the panes of glass in the windows in Washington." Confederate spy E. Pliny Bryan, of Maryland, was to signal messages from his District rooming-house window to the station. Before this scheme could be implemented, however, the Confederates abandoned Mason's Hill.

Department of Historic Resources, 2000.

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