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City of Alexandria, VA City of Alexandria, VA
Civil War Sesquicentennial
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Page updated Jan 16, 2014 2:29 PM

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Witness to War & Reunion

150th Kick-Off Event CrowdCivil War 150th Commemoration, 2011-2014

Exhibitions | Upcoming Events |  Event Photos |  History of Alexandria During the Civil War

Witness to war and reunion, Alexandria's place in Civil War history is truly unique. The Office of Historic Alexandria is commemorating the Civil War Sesquicentennial through special events and exhibits, and by pulling together resources on the history of Alexandria in the CIvil War


  • At the Lyceum: Occupied City: Life in Civil War Alexandria, extended through March 2014, examines life in an American town, seized and held by its own Federal government, following Virginia’s decision to secede from the Union in May 1861. See how Robert E. Lee’s hometown of Alexandria was transformed literally overnight from a prosperous, bustling commercial port into a supply, hospital, and transportation center for the Union Army, and find out why Alexandria became a destination for African Americans seeking freedom.  Explore the experiences of Alexandrians and others who lived here during this tumultuous time, through their own words, as well as period photographs and collections items.
  • At Fort Ward, exhibitions include The Marshall House Incident, which tells of the dramatic events that led to the first Civil War casualties.
  • At Alexandria Archaeology, temporary exhibitions include Wanted: Young Heroes. A Civil War Drummer Boy. The re-examination of a 19th century drumstick, found in a privy behind 404 King Street during the 1974 excavation of the block, led to an examination of young drummer boys during the Civil War. The main exhibition, A Community Digs Its Past: The Lee Street Site, includes sections on a Civil War hospital support complex, and a related exhibit case displays artifacts from several Civil War camp sites.

Upcoming Events

  Reenactment at Fort Ward, Northwest Bastion 
Reenactment of the Battle of Fort Stevens, at Fort Ward's Northwest Bastion. Photo, Nina Tisara, Tisara Photography

Check out the Calendar of Events for the latest information, including Lectures, Dance Classes, Movies, Civil War Sundays, and more. Upcoming events include the following:

  • Battle of Fort Stevens Reenactment Weekend at Fort Ward, July 12-13, 2014. Commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Fort Stevens, with a Living History event and skirmish. Download event flyer and Information for Reenactors.
  • Civil  War Lecture Series, 2013-2014: A free series of films and lectures highlighting the impact of the American Civil War on Alexandria and the Northern Virginia region. All lectures will be held at the Lloyd House, 220 N. Washington Street. View the brochure (PDF) for more information on the following lectures:
    • Discovery and Archaeology of the Freedmen's Cemetery, Thursday, February 20, 2014
    • Women in Civil War Alexandria, Wednesday, March 19, 2014
    • An Examination of the Causes of the Civil War, Wednesday, April 16
    • A Look at Alexandria's General Samuel Cooper, the Highest Ranking Officer of the Confederacy, Thursday, May 16
    • Significant Confederates Buried in Alexandria's Ivy Hill Cemetery, Thursday, June 19

Photos of Past Events

History of Civilian laborers for the US Military Railroad in AlexandriaAlexandria During the Civil War

The occupation of Alexandria by Union troops forever changed the social, cultural and economic fabric of the old seaport town. For four years Alexandria was an occupied city; enduring the longest military occupation by Union troops of any town during the conflict.

The following historic resources provide some insight into the War and its effect on Alexandria and its inhabitants.



Historic Alexandria Administration
Lloyd House
220 North Washington Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Fax: 703.838.6451

Office Hours
Monday - Friday
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.