The Custis Lee Mansion is the former home of former Confederate General Robert Edward Lee and his wife Mary Lee.
Robert Edward Lee resigned his U.S. Army Commission on April 20, 1861. Robert Edward Lee and his wife left the home, due to its proximity to Washington, D.C. and it’s likelihood of invasion.
Soon after the Lees left the Union did occupy the house, since the home was on a hill overlooking Washington, D.C.
On June 1862, the 37th Congress mandated that all property taxes within insurrectionary areas be paid in person. Mary Lee has arthritis and was unable to pay the taxes in person, hence the house was auctioned and purchased by the U.S. Government.
As punishment for joining the Confederacy, the Union military decided to bury hundreds of war dead in the grounds of the Lee home, to make it unsightly if they were to buy the mansion from the government and return to their former property. This decision by the Union military laid the foundation for the present day Arlington National Cemetery.
The Custis Lee Mansion has been renamed to the Arlington House and is currently owned by the U.S. National Park Service.