By the time of the Civil War, The Falls Church was already a site rich in history. The first Falls Church was erected in 1733. The name derived from the proximity of the church to the falls on the Potomac River. A road in front of the church led to the ferry just below Little Falls, close to today's Chain Bridge. At the start of the 1760s, the vestry, or governing body of the church, voted to have a brick church erected to replace the decaying wooden structure. In 1763, George Washington was elected one of the two church wardens charged with overseeing construction of the new church. The brick structure, which exists today, was finished in the fall of 1769. During the American Revolution, The Falls Church was used as a recruiting station for the Fairfax militia.
|The south side of The Falls Church at the time of the Civil War. This photograph was likely taken during the winter of 1861-62 (courtesy of Library of Congress).|
|The same view of the south side of The Falls Church today.|
|The west side of The Falls Church during the winter of 1861-62. Photographer Matthew Brady is sitting in the foreground (courtesy of Library of Congress).|
|View of the west side today.|
|An interior view of The Falls Church during the Civil War. Graffiti is plainly visible on the walls. The three religious tablets containing the Creed, Ten Commandments, and Lord's Prayer (l-r) were clearly damaged by the time this photograph was taken (courtesy of Library of Congress).|
|A similar marker dedicated to Confederates who were buried in the churchyard, including men from the 3rd Tennessee and 2nd South Carolina.|
|Marker dedicated to a sole unknown Confederate soldier whose remains were supposedly removed and re-interred in another location. All three burial markers are located at the front of the churchyard along U.S. 29/South Washington Street.|
For additional information:
The Falls Church website contains a history of the church.
A Virginia Village Goes to War: Falls Church During the Civil War, by Bradley E. Gernand contains many fascinating accounts of The Falls Church during the war years.
The Falls Church is located at 115 East Fairfax Street in Falls Church, VA, near the intersection of VA-7 and U.S. 29. Two historical markers on The Falls Church (see here and here) are situated near the intersection of E. Fairfax Street and U.S. 29.