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The materials of which this volume is composed, were collected by the writer many years ago, during visits to Mount Vernon, and also Arlington House, the residence of the family of George Washington Parke Custis, the adopted son of Washington. Careful search was made elsewhere for mementoes of the domestic life of Washington and of his Home on the banks of the Potomac River; and faithful drawings of objects and transcriptions of documents were made, wherever found. It is believed that few of such objects of interest have escaped notice. Delineations and descriptions of these, and facts concerning Mount Vernon, of every kind, have been arranged in proper order in the following pages, and so present quite a complete picture of the private and domestic life of the Father of his Country; for that life, from his earliest childhood, war associated with Mount Vernon.
Had the collection of the contents of this Volume been delayed a little longer, it could never have been made, foi almost every relic of Washington that remained at his Home when it passed into the possession of The Ladies Mount Vernon Association, was borne away by the retiring proprietor. These and many others at Arlington House were, during the the terrible storms of Civil War which frequently swept over Virginia, widely scattered, and it is believed that many per
ished. And so this work has become a most rare and precious depository of the likenesses of things once associated with the person of the Beloved Patriot, and of facts having the same relation. But for it, all semblance of such objects would have passed from the memory of men and been lost forever.
The reader will bear in mind that when persons or things are spoken of in the body of the work, in the present tense, the time is the year 1859, when the collection and arrangement of the materials were first made. The writer revisited Mount Vernon and Arlington House early in 1870, and has added many pages of interesting matter to the original collection, making it is believed, a complete reliquary of Washington and his Home. He found the aspect of Mount Vernon very little changed. But the beautiful grounds around Arlington House had been converted into a burial place for many thousands of the young men of the Country who perished while striving to save the imperilled life of the Republic.
B. J. L THB RIDGE,
DOVER, N. Y., April, 1870.