2015 may not be directly associated with an anniversary of a visit by the Marquis de Lafayette to Alexandria, but paying heed to his family motto the Office of Historic Alexandria asks, “Why Not?” Therefore, a major commemorative event in 2015 will pay tribute to
Lafayette’s service to America, and the great love and respect extended to him and his memory by Alexandrians for well over two centuries.
Twenty years ago a small group of individuals came together in France to discuss the possibility of rebuilding an exact replica of the tall ship Hermione (pronounced Erm-ee-on), that brought Lafayette to America in 1780 in support of the American Revolution, and
launched a long-lasting partnership between America and France. Their efforts were successful, and the ship is now almost complete, with sea trials scheduled this year and a voyage across the Atlantic set for 2015, with the first landing at Yorktown. From there, the ship will proceed northward, stopping
at Mount Vernon and the port of Alexandria on its way to other northeastern cities and ultimately to Nova Scotia.
The ship will arrive in Alexandria during the second week of June, and OHA is already working on a series of commemorative events and exhibits marking his service to the American cause. When he visited Alexandria for several weeks in 1824, Lafayette was treated like a
rock star by Alexandrians of the day, recognized at multiple balls and social events in his honor. He was also the subject of a wide variety of commemorative wares produced in his honor, many of which can be found in OHA’s historic collections. So brush up on your French, find a partner to practice Minuet steps, and
prepare to be dazzled by the ship and this thrilling visit to Alexandria next June! To see the full-color Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America brochure, click
On October 5, 1860, President
James Buchanan, accompanied by none other than the Prince of Wales, passed
through Alexandria on their way to pay the heir-apparent’s respects at the tomb
of our nation’s first president, George Washington, at Mount Vernon. Earlier that year, Her Majesty Queen Victoria
had sent her eighteen-year-old son, Albert Edward, also known as “Bertie,” on
his first Royal visit, a good will tour of Canada and the United States.
Although the young Prince (later he became King Edward VII) had not yet
developed his unusual sense of fashion and roguish behavior, he was indeed
received as a “Royal Spectacle” in the locations he visited, and Alexandria was
no exception. During the highly acclaimed tour, in New York the Prince viewed a
high-wire crossing of the Niagara Falls, and later he participated in a public
prayer for the British monarchy, the first held on Manhattan Island since the
Explore Alexandria’s firefighting history on Saturday,
October 11, the “Blazing a Trail: Alexandria’s Firefighting History” tour
departs from the historic Friendship Firehouse Museum. Participants, age 10 and
older, will learn about volunteer firefighting in early Alexandria, three
devastating fires in the city, and the five volunteer fire companies. Tickets are priced at $6 for adults; $4 ages 10-17. Reservations
are required, as space is limited.
On October 9, 1864, the Battle of Tom’s Brook in Shenandoah County
resulted in an important Union victory, noted in the annals of history for the
swiftness of the Confederate retreat. Days
earlier, Union Major General Philip Sheridan began the pursuit of Confederate
General Jubal Early’s men through the Shenandoah Valley, but reversed course at
a point near Staunton, Virginia, burning everything in his path that might later
be used to assist Confederacy. Early’s
forces were soon supplemented by other divisions under the command of Major
Generals Joseph Kershaw and Thomas Rosser, and reversed course themselves to pursue
the Union troops. U.S. Army Brigadier
General Alfred Torbert, who had been verbally reprimanded just two weeks
earlier, after his performance at the Battle of Fisher’s Hill, by Sheridan with
the comment, “Whip or be whipped,” turned back against the Confederates at
Tom’s Brook. His actions there largely resulted in a Union victory and what
laughingly became known as “The Woodstock Races,” in descriptions of the
Southern retreat, and finally secured Union superiority in the Shenandoah
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Historic Alexandria AdministrationLloyd House220 North Washington StreetAlexandria, VA 22314703.746.4554Fax: 703.838.6451Email
Office HoursMonday - Friday8 a.m. to 5 p.m.