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had his collar-bone broken. In 1820, Commodore Decatur was here killed in a duel, by Commodore Barron. At the first fire both fell forward, with their heads within ten feet of each other, and, as each supposed himself mortally wounded, each fully and freely forgave the other. Decatur expired immediately, but Barron eventually recovered. In 1822, Midshipman Locke was killed here, by a clerk of the Treasury Department, named Gibson; the latter was not hurt. In 1833, Mr. Key and Mr. Sherborn had a hostile encounter, and, after an exchange of shots, Mr. Sherborn said :—“Mr. Key, I have no desire to kill you.” “No matter,” said Key, “I came to kill you." “Very well, then,” said Sherborn, “I will kill you.” And he did. In 1838, W.J. Graves, of Kentucky, assuming the quarrel of James Watson Webb with Jonathan Cilley, of Maine, selected this place for the duel, and Cilley was killed. In 1845, a lawyer named Jones fought with and killed Dr. Johnson. In 1851, R. A. Hoole and A. J. Dallas had a hostile meeting. Dallas was shot in the shoulder, but recovered.
Three miles westward from Georgetown, the Potomac forms a succession of cascades, designated the Little Falls. The noble river is at this point beautiful enough to provide immortal fame for the artist who shall properly delineate it. Overlooking its turbulence, the traveler crosses a bridge, the structure of which assures him instinctively of his safety, and he arrives on the Virginia shore. Following the highway for fifteen miles, over picturesque hills and through fine forests, he finds a crossroad, leading to the
This romantic water-fall, without any pretension to the majesty of Niagara, is a sublime specimen of the wildest mood of nature. Through fierce and jagged barriers of rock, the river forces its imperial march, with such vehemence as seems to involve an immediate agent stronger than the force of gravity; foaming and boiling, the crests of the hurried billows appear to be white masses, hurled by Titanic hands. The whole scene is of that kind called savage, but may be more properly styled regal, nature-or the laws of nature, known and unknown, asserting the supremacy of the original force over all barriers. No theme could be so grand for a poet, no scene more suggestive for a painter; and Mr. W. D. Washington has proved himself a true son of the soil upon which he was born, and a master of the art to which he has devoted himself, by the fine picture he has painted of this contrast of sky, rocks, and water. This point of the river furnishes the water used by the people of Washington, which is conveyed to them by means of the national aqueduct, of which we have previously spoken.
The City of Alexandria is distant seven miles from Washington, with which city there is a constant communication by steamboat, omnibus, and railroad. The width of the river, and the depth of its waters, form here a fine harbor for the commerce of this portion of the country; which, although it has not arrived at the greatness anticipated in former years, is still considerable, and is principally employed in the transportation of coal, tobacco, and corn. Railroad and steamboat facilities are afforded for the traveler desiring to proceed in any direction. The site of the city is beautifully undulating. Originally the settlement on this point of the river was denominated “Hunting Creek Warehouse,” but some more classical ear insisted upon dubbing it Belle Haven. At one time it had a fair prospect of becoming the seat of government; and so strong was the influence brought to bear in its favor, that it was included in the federal territory, and afterwards returned, by act of Congress, in 1846, to Virginia. In the latter part of his life, George Washington was a pew-holder in Christ Church, and many reminiscences of that great man are preserved in the records of this ancient church, and also in the archives of Washington Lodge, No. 22, of Free and Accepted Ma
Alexandria is connected with Georgetown and the West by a canal, and a considerable manufacturing business is carried on. The handsome court-house of Alexandria county is located here ;
some fourteen churches, and numerous schools, form the other public buildings.
This military edifice, originally known as Fort Warburton, is about six miles below Alexandria, and generally visited by persons proceeding from the seat of government to Mount Vernon. It is described by General Wilkinson as being, in 1812, a mere water-battery. Since that time it has not improved in its stratagetic importance. It was intended for offensive action only against the river side, and, being under an acclivity, is, of course, of no service in the other direction. During the last war with Great Britain, the town of Alexandria furnished fifteen hundred dollars towards making the fort defensible; but this did not save that town from a forced contribution, nor preserve the Capital of the nation from plunder.
This spot, so surrounded by patriotic associations, descended to George Washington from his half-brother, Lawrence Washington, whose title descended from the patent of Lord Culpepper to John Washington, dated 1670. The father of these Washingtons first married Jane Butler, who bore him the son named Lawrence, and subsequently united himself in a second marriage with Mary Ball, who was the mother of George Washington. The Mount Vernon estate was bequeathed by Augustine Washington, who died in 1743, to Lawrence Washington. The last-named person received a captain's commission in one of the four regiments raised in the American colonies to aid Great Britain in her memorable struggle against the combined forces of France and Spain. His duties subsequently brought him in contact with Admiral Vernon, for whom he conceived and always cherished a strong affection; and after his marriage, in 1743, having settled upon what was then known as the Hunting Creek estate, he called it Mount Vernon.
This beautiful estate has been suffered to fall into a sad state of dilapidation, but having at length passed into the hands of the women of America, it will doubtless be made worthy of the sacred ashes which repose in its shades.
The central portion of the mansion was erected by Lawrence Washington, and the wings were added by George Washington. In the main hall is preserved the key of the Bastile, presented by Lafayette to Washington, as a fitting symbol of the triumph of modern political ideas, embodied in the person of Washington, over the barbarous notions of tyranny, so well represented by the most grim and terrible prison of recent ages.
The Tomb of Washington.—While many cities of the old world contended for the honor of Homer's birth-place, the strife of modern cities has been for the entombment of Washington's ashes ; and it is not impossible that this far-seeing statesman was governed by other reasons than those dictated by his acknowledged modesty, when, in his last will and testament, dated July, 1799, he directed that his remains should be interred upon the family estate of Mount Vernon, and not removed therefrom. In the succeeding December, his body was borne to the old vault, with the observance of the following order of procession :
Cavalry, Infantry, and Guard;
BODY. Col. Marsteller,
Citizens. The old family vault, in which the remains were placed, was south of the mansion, and was constructed of freestone, covered with turf. With a wise anticipation of the future importance of his record to the general history of the world, Washington, in his will, expressed his desire for a new mausoleum in the following terms :
“The family vault at Mount Vernon requiring repairs,