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City of Alexandria, VA City of Alexandria, VA
Historic Alexandria
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Page updated Jun 23, 2014 2:02 PM

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Johnny Bull Cartoon image
Johnny Bull and the Alexandrians. Political cartoon, William Charles, 1814. (Courtesy, The Lyceum: Alexandria’s History Museum.) Alexandrians are shown cowering and pleading with Johnny Bull, a symbol for England. The cartoon ridicules Alexandria’s 1814 surrender to the British in the War of 1812. The Alexandrians plead: "Pray Mr. Bull don't be too hard with us -- You know we were always friendly, even in the time of our Embargo!" Their words suggest that British goods may have continued to reach the port of Alexandria during the embargo years.

War of 1812 Bicentennial


The years 2012-2015 mark the bicentennial of the War of 1812. The war, and the five-day occupation of Alexandria by British forces in 1814, had a profound effect on the town and its economy.

2014 Activities and Events to Commemorate the Bicentennial

Click on the event to see more details on the City of Alexandria Calendar of Events. To purchase tickets, visit The Alexandria Shop and click on Events.   


War of 1812 Commemorative Weekend | FREE! 

  • Saturday, August 30  
    • Commemorative Wreath Laying to honor those who died in the War of 1812. Old Presbyterial Meeting House cemetery.
    • Concert on the stage at Market Square
    • Challenge Cricket Match 
  • Sunday August 31  
    • Challenge Yacht Race 
    • Commemorative Event. Waterfront Park, 1 Prince Street, 12-5 pm. Free. Join us at Waterfront Park for this history festival to learn more about the War of 1812 and its impact on Alexandria through living history, exhibits about the War, educational programs, boat tours, sea shanties sung by the USN Sea Chanters, period vendors, food vendors, and the Challenge Tug of War!

Concert Series | FREE! 

  • Thursday evenings in June: Enjoy music inspired by the War of 1812 on the back patio of Carlyle House.

Museum Open Houses: Call to Arms Weekend | FREE! 

  • July 26-27: Open houses relating to the War of 1812 at various museums in VIrginia, Maryland and DC. Details to follow. 

Presidential Salon with James Madison | $15 adult, $10 student 

  • Sunday June 22, September 14 and November 16:  Join President Madison as he discusses and engages guests about political and personal issues of 1814. Reservations required. 3 -  4:30 p.m.

 Treaty of Ghent Banquet | $ 

  • April 18, 2015: Mark the end of the War of 1812, at Gadsby's Tavern Museum. Details to follow. 

Self-Guided Tours

  • Scavenger Hunt Smartphone App: Experience the British occupation of 1814 through the eyes of the people who witnessed it as you discover new sites and facts in this 9-block scavenger hunt.  
  • Star-Spangled Bike Tour: Enjoy a 6.6 mile tour of the places associated with the five-day British occupation of Alexandria in late August 1814, including Jones Point and the site of the Virginia militia encampment. Tour information includes Cue Sheet and printable or interactive maps.  
  • War of 1812 Burials in the Presbyterian Cemetery. Brochure on the Presbyterian Cemetery & Columbarium, 600 Hamilton Lane, Alexandria, adjacent to the Alexandria National Cemetery. Published by the Old Presbyterian Meeting House.


  • "On Monday Last..." Exhibit of Commemorative Ceramics at the Alexandria Archaeology Museum. Most of the ceramic vessels on display were recovered from excavations at or near Gadsby’s Tavern by city archaeologists. Each commemorates American prosperity or her heroes of the Revolution and War of 1812.
  • Traveling Exhibit: War of 1812: A Nation Forged by War. At The Lyceum: Alexandria's History Museum. The panel-display, courtesy of the U.S. Navy Museum commemorates the 200-year anniversary of the War of 1812. For visitors with smart phones, additional content is available by scanning the QR code on each panel.

Other Ways to Commemorate the Bicentennial 

  • Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail. The Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail is a 560-mile land and water route that tells the story of the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake Bay region. It connects historic sites in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia and commemorates the events leading up to the Battle for Baltimore, the aftermath of which inspired Francis Scott Key to write our National Anthem. The trail traces American and British troop movements, introduces visitors to communities affected by the war, and highlights the Chesapeake region’s distinctive landscapes and waterways. Congress established the Star-Spangled Banner Trail in 2008. The trail is one of 19 national historic trails administered by the National Park Service and one of 30 trails in the National Trails System.
  • Find the Alexandria Geocache on the Star-Spangled Banner Geotrail.
  • Virginia Bicentennial of the American War of 1812 Commission 
  • Alan Taylor's lecture, The Internal Enemy, Slavery and War in Virginia from 1772 to 1832. Alan Taylor's lecutre, THe
  • In this video filmed by C-SPAN, Alan Taylor speaks (in 2013) about working on his 2014 Pulitzer-prize-winning book The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832. Taylor spoke at The Lyceum in May 2014, connecting his research for this book with Alexandrians’ own experiences during the War of 1812. The Internal Enemy is also available in The Historic Alexandria Museum Store in The Lyceum.


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.