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Civil War Site Williams’s Ordinary

George Williams served travelers here by 1788. Header-bond brickwork, rarely found outside Annapolis, Md., and fine stonework suggest that Maryland masons built it, perhaps in the 1760s as a merchant’s mansion. Williams’s Ordinary has long been an important Dumfries landmark because of its striking appearance and its prominent location on King’s Highway (present-day U.S. Route 1). It served as Confederate headquarters during the Civil War in 1861–62, when Southern forces blockaded the Potomac River to prevent Union ships from reaching Washington, D.C. Union forces occupied Dumfries in March 1862 and stayed until the end of the war.