Witness to War & Reunion
Civil 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, open through September 2013, 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.
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:
- Civil War Fort Day, Saturday, June 8. Various aspects of military life in the Defenses of Washington will be portrayed by interpreters in period dress.
- Civil War Artillery Day, Saturday, October 5. With the 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery.
- Soldier-led Tourof the Fort, Saturday, November 9. Tour the historic fort with an interpreter in Union uniform who will highlight the history of Fort Ward and army life in the Defenses of Washington
- Civil War Christmas in Camp, Saturday, December 14.
Photos of Past Events
History of Alexandria 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.