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In 1814, during the War of 1812, a British fleet launched a successful Raid on Alexandria, which surrendered without a fight.

It is largely populated by professionals working in the federal civil service, in the U. military, or for one of the many private companies which contract to provide services to the federal government. Like Old Town, many Alexandria neighborhoods are compact and walkable.They intended to conduct trade into the interior of America, and they required a trading center near the head of navigation on the Potomac.The best location was Hunting Creek tobacco warehouse, since the deep water could easily accommodate sailing ships.A portion of the City of Alexandria—most of the area now known as "Old Town" as well as the areas of the city northeast of what is now King Street—and all of today's Arlington County share the distinction of having been originally in Virginia, ceded to the U. Government to form the District of Columbia, and later retroceded to Virginia by the federal government in 1846, when the District was reduced in size to exclude the portion south of the Potomac River.Over time, a movement grew to separate Alexandria from the District of Columbia (the District of Columbia retrocession).In 1920, Virginia's General Assembly voted to incorporate what had been Alexandria County as Arlington County to minimize confusion.

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