George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 4 July 1798]

4. Morning clear—breeze from the No. but light—Mer. 78. 80 at Night. Went up to the Celebration of the anniversary of Independance and dined in the Spring Gardens near Alexa. with a large Compa. of the Civil & Military of Fairfax County.

the celebration: “The auspicious morning was ushered in by a discharge of sixteen guns . . . Gen. Washington was escorted into town by a detachment from the troop of Dragoons. He was dressed in full uniform, and appeared in good health and spirits. At 10 o’clock . . . uniform companies paraded . . . the different corps were reviewed in King street by General Washington, and Col. Little, who expressed the highest satisfaction at their appearance and manoeuvering; after which they proceeded to the Episcopal Church, where a suitable discourse was delivered by the Rev. Dr. Davis.

“A dinner was prepared at Spring Gardens by Mr. John Stavely; which, considering the number of citizens and military that partook of it (between 4 and 500) was conducted with the greatest propriety and decorum. Ludwell Lee, esq. presided at the head of the table—the foot was honored by Col. Charles Little . . . the troops went through a number of military evolutions during the day, with all of which the General was particularly pleased, and bestowed many encomiums on their martial appearance” (Claypoole’s American Daily Adv. [Philadelphia], 19 July 1798).

Spring Gardens, a modest building surrounded by gardens set in the fields south of Alexandria, was a popular setting for large gatherings (see MOORE [1] description begins Gay Montague Moore. Seaport in Virginia: George Washington’s Alexandria. 1949. Reprint. Charlottesville, Va., 1972. description ends , 197–98; POWELL [1] description begins Mary G. Powell. The History of Old Alexandria, Virginia: From July 13, 1749 to May 24, 1861. Richmond, 1928. description ends , 134–35).

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