(0) | $0.00

Close

Qty Item Description Price Total
  Subtotal $0.00

View Cart

 

The Winery at Bull Run

The Winery at Bull Run
 

The Winery at Bull Run Remembers Fairfax County WWI Veteran

 
 
Hillwood circa 1897
Hillwood Present Day

Grafton Fitzhugh Lee

 

Friday, April 7, 2017, marked the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entry into World War I. Over 4.7 million Americans served in the Great War—more than 600 of those were drafted into the U.S. Army from Fairfax County. One such soldier was Grafton Fitzhugh Lee, whose initials are visible still today, carved into the chimney of his family’s home on the current day property of The Winery at Bull Run.

In 1917, at the age of 23, Lee left the farm he ran with his family when he enlisted into the U.S. Army as a member of the 318th Infantry Division, 80th Division. He had three brothers and five sisters who all lived at Hillwood (the name of his family's house) along with their parents.

Lee's World War I Draft Registration Card

The enlisted of the 80th Regiment, also referred to as the Blue Ridge Division, were drawn from Virginia, West Virginia, and the western counties of Pennsylvania.  The division insignia to the left depicts three mountain tops representing these home states. 

Lee served in the American Expeditionary Forces from May 1918 until May 1919. His unit was successfully called upon three times in the Meuse-Argonne offensive in France in 1918—the final and most costly Allied offensive of the war leading to Germany’s surrender and the Armistice.

Recently discovered by one of his descendants, the letter below to “his mama” describes his first impression of France. Dated June 1, 1918, it reads:

Dear Mama,

Arrived safe and in good spirits yesterday and found work for us just as soon as we could get at it, so have not had time to write before and this paper I brought with me almost wore it out in my pocket, but nevertheless it will answer the purpose for which it is intended. So don’t worry as I am alright so far.
 
This part of France looks odd to us nothing looks natural except the horses, cows, and dogs, and even they can’t understand us. It was funny to march through town and see the women get together on the corners and shake their heads and it sounded to us like a bunch of geese or hens although most of the children could ask for money or cigarettes. […]

Another thing funny is seeing men wear wooden shoes. Some were too big and they had grass stuffed around the tops some were cracked open at the toe and grass sticking out. Most of the people are at work have fine looking gardens and potatoes growing every place. The season seems to be earlier than at home. The weather is fine at present.

Well I must close for this time. Can’t write as often as before so don’t worry give my regards to everybody.

With love to all,
     Your Soldier Boy
A postcard mailed home to Lee’s sister from the front several months later, on October 9, 1918 (during the Meuse Argonne offensive) shows how mail was censored.  Route #3 Manassas was the mailing address for Hillwood. The following day, October 10, 1918, Grafton was promoted to the rank of corporal.
Lee was awarded the following medals for duty in St. Mihiel and Meuse Argonne—a Marksman badge awarded March 8, 1919, 318th Co E button, and a French Infantry ribbon, most likely traded for something as it is dated 1914-15.
Upon his return, Lee married Violet Teresa Greenwell on July 14, 1923 and they raised two boys, Jimmie and Joe, at 1315 Taylor St NW, Washington, DC. The family is depicted in this photo with Jimmie behind the wheel of a soap box derby car, which was built by Lee who was an accomplished cabinetmaker and carpenter.

Following the end of the war, Lee moved to Washington, D.C., as the manager of construction and maintenance at Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital. He would remain at Walter Reed for his entire career and oversaw the expansion of the hospital during those years.
He retired as a civilian from the U.S. Army in 1954 after 35 years, not including the military service.  He lived in retirement at 111 Lexington Dr. Silver Spring, MD.  He died in 1977 and is buried at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Aspen Hill.

Visitors can view Lee’s initials on the chimney of the Hillwood Ruins by visiting The Winery at Bull Run Sunday-Saturday, 11 AM-7 PM.
You know you want to

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

Keep up to date on the latest wine releases, events, and promotions.