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Washington's Tomb at Mount Vernon near Alexandria, VA, historical
Washington's Tomb at Mount Vernon near Alexandria, VA
Washington's Tomb at Mount Vernon near Alexandria, VA, memorial

Washington's Tomb at Mount Vernon near Alexandria, VA

On Thursday, December 12, 1799, Washington spent several hours riding over the plantation, in snow, hail and freezing rain—later that evening eating his supper without changing from his wet clothes. The following day, he awoke with a severe sore throat (either quinsy or acute epiglottitis) and became increasingly hoarse as the day progressed. All the available medical treatments failed to improve his condition, and he died at Mount Vernon at around 10pm on Saturday, December 14, 1799, aged 67.

On December 18, 1799, a funeral was held at Mount Vernon, where his body was interred. Congress passed a joint resolution to construct a marble monument in the United States Capitol for his body, supported by Martha. In December 1800, the United States House passed an appropriations bill for $200,000 to build the mausoleum, which was to be a pyramid with a base 100 feet (30 m) square. Southerners who wanted his body to remain at Mount Vernon defeated the measure.

In accordance with his will, Washington was entombed in a family crypt he had built upon first inheriting the estate. It was in disrepair by 1799, so Washington's will also requested that a new, larger tomb be built. This was not executed until 1831, the centennial of his birth; the need for a new tomb was confirmed when an unsuccessful attempt was made to steal his body. Despite this, a joint Congressional committee in early 1832 debated the removal of Washington's body from Mount Vernon to a crypt in the Capitol, built by Charles Bulfinch in the 1820s. Southern opposition was intense, antagonized by an ever-growing rift between North and South.

His remains were finally moved on October 7, 1837, along with those of his wife, Martha, to the new tomb presented by John Struthers of Philadelphia. Other members of the Washington family are interred in an inner vault, behind the vestibule containing the sarcophagi of George and Martha Washington.


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