A big thank you to neighbor Fox Vernon and his LesDunBelle Diary for alerting us to the Civil War Christmas at Ft. Ward Museum on Dec. 11.
For those of you who would like to combine a bit of history with your holiday festivities (along with a great way to entertain out of town visitors), this family oriented event features a patriotic Santa Claus, living history presentations, Victorian decorations, refreshments, tours and crafts.
We are particularly drawn to this event after attending our first Civil War reenactment in Mt. Pleasant, SC last weekend. It wasn’t a big battle but the participants did Broadway proud, including a deserter who drew “boos” from the crowd.
In addition to cannons and lots of musket fire, there was a fine display of horsemanship with a preliminary cavalry skirmish. Before the battle there was a chance to wander the grounds of Boone Hall Plantation, visit with exhibitors and observe the customs of another time.
But back to a Civil War Christmas at Alexandria’s Ft. Ward Museum- soldiers and civilian interpreters will welcome the public to winter camps and the Museum, which will be decorated with festive greenery and a Victorian parlor tree.
The Officers’ Hut will be the setting for soldiers opening Christmas boxes from home and sharing how they plan to observe the holiday. Weather permitting, soldier will lead tours of the historic fort.
A Civil War-era Santa Claus, dressed according to a wartime image popularized by artist Thomas Nast, will read “The Night Before Christmas” to children and hear their Christmas wishes. Santa will also visit troops in camp, just as he did on the 1863 cover of Harper’s Weekly. Youngsters can also learn to make their own Christmas cards and ornaments.
Ladies dressed in period attire will serve light refreshments in the Museum and visitors holiday shoppers can browse a variety of Civil War books and “stocking stuffers” in the Museum shop.
The suggested donation is $2 for adults and $1 for children.
Fort Ward is the best-preserved fortification in the Defenses of Washington, which were built to protect the Union capital during the Civil War.
The Museum offers changing exhibits, tours, lectures, and interpretive programs throughout the year. Fort Ward Museum & Historic Site is located at 4301 West Braddock Road in Alexandria.