“Roughing it at Arlington”
Robert and Mary Lee’s younger daughters — Agnes, Annie, and Mildred —shared this room before the Civil War. After their father resigned from the US Army, the family fled Arlington, and Union soldiers occupied the house. During the war, the estate became a training and camp ground. Generals Winfield Scott and Irvin McDowell—Lee’s friends from the US Army—worked to protect the house. Still, soldiers stole many possessions from the estate.
The NPS used this sketch by a Union soldier to recreate this space. Comically entitled Roughing it at Arlington, it shows the Three Graces statuette on the mantel. George Washington Parke Custis gave this statuette as a gift to his youngest granddaughters.
“Your old home, if not destroyed by our enemies, has been so desecrated that I cannot bear to think of it.”–Robert E. Lee, December 25, 1861
This sketch made by a Union soldier is the only picture known to exist of the interior of historic Arlington House. It depicts a soldier leaning back in a chair with his feet on a table, bottles in the fireplace, and several pieces of furniture that are still at Arlington House. These are drawn in detail, including the statue of the Three Graces and a secretary or desk. This sketch was probably made early in the war as, by the end of the war, very few of the Lee’s possessions remained.