This April 1864 sketch by artist Alfred R. Waud depicts Freedmen's Village, a settlement established the previous year for formerly enslaved men, women, and children. Residences, a school house, hospital, laundry, and other structures were eventually built around a pond seen in the distance. This sketch was the basis for an engraving published in the May 7, 1864, edition of Harper's Weekly.
This village was located on the grounds of Arlington House, the home of Confederate general Robert E. Lee that had been confiscated by the federal army. Under the headline, “Gen. Lee’s Lands Appropriately Confiscated," the Washington, D.C. Morning Chronicle applauded the choice of the site:
General Robert E. Lee, who commands the army of rebels, is fighting to enslave the black man. To accomplish this hellish purpose, he kills the loyal soldiers of the nation, and attempts the destruction of the nation’s life. In view of this fact, a happy thought has occurred to the Secretary of War which it gives us pleasure to record...He ordered Col. Green to organize the Freeman’s Village...upon the Arlington estate.