The Steam Frigate Pensacola lands in Alexandria in 1861 bringing supplies to Confederate troops. Eighteen-year old Edgar Warfield of Alexandria, the co-founder of the Old Dominion Rifles, was among the 800 local militiamen who left Alexandria on May 24, 1861 to fight for the Confederacy.
As part of the 17th Virginia Regiment, Private Warfield served the duration of the conflict from First Manassas (Bull Run) to Appomattox.
His memoirs recount his army experiences beginning with the events and mood in Alexandria prior to Union occupation: “During these early months of 1861, we could almost see the skies grow steadily darker. War became practically a certainty. In Alexandria, the training of volunteers went steadily forward, and one event after another gave evidence of how the public was changing over from a civilian to military status. The annual celebration of the anniversary of the birth of George Washington took place as usual on February 22, but there was a significance to the event which had not been known before. In the parade marched the Loudoun Guards of Leesburg and the Warren Rifles of Front Royal, in addition to our own companies and to the Fire Department organizations…On the same day, in front of Lyceum Hall, a handsome Virginia State flag was presented to the Alexandria Riflemen by the ladies of the city…EDGAR WARFIELD, 1861.”