This Week in the Civil War - #1102
In 1864, the United States government confiscated Arlington House, the home of Robert E. Lee, when property taxes were not paid in person by Mrs. Lee. Purchased for "government use," Arlington soon became a cemetery as a vengeful Northern military decided to make the property uninhabitable to the Lee family once the war ended. The Lees never returned to Arlington; after the general’s death in 1870, his son brought suit, claiming the government had illegally confiscated the property. By a 5 to 4 decision in December 1882 the U.S. Supreme Court agreed, returning Arlington to Lee’s son who then promptly resold the property to the national government for $150,000. Arlington was retained and expanded as a national cemetery over the next century, becoming one of America’s most hallowed grounds.