City of Alexandria, VA
Page updated May 21, 2011 9:43 AM
Civil War Sharpshooters at Fort Ward Museum and Historic Site
Reenactors representing the famed Civil War “Brady’s Michigan Sharpshooters” come to Fort Ward Museum and Historic Site on Saturday, June 25 for a special living history program.
The event takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Fort Ward Museum, 4301 West Braddock Road. Featured activities will include a rifle display and presentation, skirmish drills, camp life scenarios, and a bugle call demonstration to illustrate how riflemen moved and fired by signal calls. A clerk impression will take place in the Officers’ Hut. Admission is free for this family-friendly event; donations are welcome. Because this event is outdoors, it is weather-dependent.
Michigan’s First Company of Sharpshooters was authorized by the War Department in late summer 1861, after First Bull Run. The elite unit saw action at virtually every significant engagement of the Army of the Potomac. At Gettysburg, the men fought as skirmishers on Little Round Top. The company was named after frontier army general Hugh Brady.
The independent company of exceptional marksmen was composed entirely of volunteers. Despite high casualty rates, the unit was known for its strong esprit de corps and experienced only one desertion in the field. Although issued standard military rifles, many of the volunteers brought their own personal, customized target rifles with them to war. Men were also equipped with telescopic sights for their specialized and dangerous missions.
Fort Ward was the fifth largest installation within the extensive network of forts known as the Defenses of Washington, which was built to protect the Federal capital during the Civil War. Fort Ward Museum and Historic Site offers changing exhibits, tours, lectures, and interpretive programs throughout the year.
For more information, please call Fort Ward Museum at 703.746.4848 or visit www.fortward.org.