Leeland Station is a planned community located in Falmouth, Stafford County, Virginia.
The land was originally owned by a local businessman, John Fitzhugh, and his home named "Belle Air or Bell-Air" was a prominent Stafford County landmark. Fitzhugh first constructed a house here in the early 1800's. The Fitzhugh name remains prominent to this day in modern Stafford County, and is most notably seen by the Fitzhugh Estates that are just to the southeast of Leeland Station.
The land Fitzhugh owned, just north of what is today Deacon Road, was sold to Abraham Primmer in 1854. Primmer constructed a new farmhouse, which occupied the land near what is now Primmer House Rd. between the entrances of the Conway Elementary School and the VRE Station. He too kept the name Belle Air for the home. Primmer lived here with his wife and six children and owned nearly four-hundred acres, all of which the Leeland Station Community now encompasses. The original acreage was valued at $7,200 in 1854.
Abraham Primmer opposed the south's secession from the Union and sent one of his sons to enlist in the Union Army. Abraham himself aided Confederate deserters and served as a local guide for Union forces. When the Union Army occupied Stafford County in the summer of 1862, it used the Primmer's cattle pastures as their camp ground, Camp Pitcher. The largest intrusion upon Belle Air came in the winter of 1862-1863, when the home and farm became a camping ground for the Army of the Potomac’s Third Corp.
Following its defeat at the Battle of Fredericksburg in December 1862, the Army of the Potomac went into winter quarters in Stafford County. Here at Bell-Air (the nearly 400-acre estate of Abraham Primmer, which the Leeland Station community now encompasses), elements of Brigadier General David B. Birney’s division laid out its camps, while its commander established his headquarters at the house. In honor of Major William L. Pitcher of the 4th Maine Infantry who was killed at Fredericksburg, the encampment was named “Camp Pitcher.”
Soldiers scavenged livestock, fence rails, crops and lumber from local inhabitants. After four months at this location the area was stripped clean. In March 1863, Union troops left Belle Air and moved east, to new camps near Belle Plain along Potomac Creek.
After the war, Abraham Primmer received $2,752.50 from the federal government as compensation for the damage done to his property. His list of damages included four miles of fence and 160 acres of timber consumed as fuel; 20 cords of fruit trees destroyed; hogs, hay and fodder taken; and boards confiscated for use in the construction of coffins. A portion of Camp Pitcher was preserved as part of the proffer to build the community, and can be found in the section of Leeland Station to the east of Leeland Road.
President Abraham Lincoln traveled to the area several times by train and reviewed the Army of the Potomac. Remnants of the original Fredericksburg Line train trestle still exist to the north at the dead-end of Leeland Road. A marker can be found on the left side of the road nearest one of the trestle supports. In the summer of 1862, President Lincoln reviewed the Second, Third and Fifth Corps Corps nearest to where the intersection of Leeland Road and Deacon Road are today.
Primmer's Bell-Air House circa 1937
The Primmer House survived into the mid-twentieth century, at which time the property name was know as "Walnut Farm." According to Stafford County records, the house was destroyed by fire before 1942. Today, none of the original buildings or structures of Belle Air or Walnut Farm exist. During the initial clearing for Leeland Station, the fireplace bricks from Primmer's Belle Air home were recovered and are now stored in the basement of the Leeland Station Belle Air Clubhouse. They are slated for future use as a memorial to the Primmer Family.
The remnants of the Belle Air house, a massive chimney, 2002.
Now a sprawling community of over 775 homes, Leeland Station is proud of its community involvement and spirit and supports one of the best summer swim teams in the Rappahannock Swim League, the Leeland Express.
The Leeland Station Community Association has five (5) resident members of the Community Association, who comprise the Board of Directors. The Community Association has a Property Manger, a Modifications and Change Committee, and an Activities Committee that help maintain the Association's declarations, advises the Board of Directors on matters of the Community, and plan Community Events.
Thanks to the Stafford County Historical Society, The National Park Service, Eric Mink, and the Rappahannock Valley Civil War Round Table for their efforts in recording the history.