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Despite the objections of those living in Alexandria County, President Polk certified the referendum and issued a proclamation of transfer on September 7, 1846.
Although Virginia was part of the Confederacy, its control did not extend all the way through Northern Virginia.
With the passage of the Residence Act in 1790, Congress approved a new permanent capital to be located on the Potomac River, the exact area to be selected by U. However, President Washington shifted the federal territory's borders to the southeast in order to include the pre-existing city of Alexandria at the District's southern tip.
In 1791, Congress amended the Residence Act to approve the new site, including the territory ceded by Virginia.
During the American Civil War, Virginia seceded from the Union as a result of a statewide referendum held on May 23, 1861; the voters from Alexandria County approved secession by a vote of 958–48.
This vote indicates the degree to which its only town, Alexandria, was pro-secession and pro-Confederate.
Due to the county's proximity to downtown Washington, D.
C., Arlington is home to many important installations for the capital region and U. government, including the Pentagon, Reagan National Airport, and Arlington National Cemetery.
Instead the county found itself struggling to compete with the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal at the port of Georgetown, which was farther inland and on the northern side of the Potomac River next to the City of Washington.
Members of Congress from other areas of Virginia also used their power to prohibit funding for projects, such as the Alexandria Canal, which would have increased competition with their home districts.
Following additional lobbying by Alexandrians, Congress passed legislation on July 9, 1846, to return all the District's territory south of the Potomac River back to Virginia, pursuant to a referendum; President James K. A referendum on retrocession was held on September 1–2, 1846.
The residents of the City of Alexandria voted in favor of the retrocession, 734 to 116; however, the residents of Alexandria County voted against retrocession 106 to 29.
In addition, Congress had prohibited the federal government from establishing any offices in Alexandria, which made the county less important to the functioning of the national government.