Battle of Fort Stevens 150th Weekend at Fort Ward

Page archived as of November 23, 2015

July 12th 10 AM-5 PM, July 13th 10 AM-3 PM, Photo courtesy of Nina Tisara Photography

Fort Ward BastionFort Ward Museum & Historic Site will host the Battle of Fort Stevens Reenactment Weekend on July 12-13 in recognition of the 150th anniversary of the only battle that was fought in the Civil War Defenses of Washington.   Saturday’s activities are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a narrated reenactment of the historic 1864 battle at 2 p.m.   Sunday’s schedule runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and features a concert by the Federal City Brass Band at 2 p.m.   Suggested donation to the event each day is $2/adults and $5/families.  The event is weather dependent.

The event will feature Union and Confederate camps, military and civilian interpreters, and a variety of drills and educational demonstrations.  Visitors can also meet President and Mrs. Abraham Lincoln, and see the president come under fire from Confederate sharpshooters as he did during the actual battle.   Infantry and artillery reenactors will interpret weapons, equipment and tactics of the period as well as army life scenarios.  Civilians will portray roles that supported the war effort, from camp laundresses to U.S. government clerks who were mobilized to help defend Fort Stevens from General Jubal Early’s Confederate assault. 

The Battle of Fort Stevens, also known as “Jubal Early’s Raid on Washington,” occurred on July 11-12, 1864.  In an effort to alleviate Union pressure being placed on Robert E. Lee’s army near Petersburg, Early’s forces advanced towards the Federal capital of Washington, D.C. after engaging Northern troops at the Battle of Monocacy near Frederick, Maryland.  The  two-day heavy skirmish tested the ability of the northern line of Washington’s defense system to withstand a Confederate attack.  During the battle, President Abraham Lincoln came under enemy fire while witnessing the action from the parapet of Fort Stevens.   The Battle of Fort Stevens was the only battle fought in the Defenses of Washington, and marked the only time that an American president came under direct enemy fire while in office. 

Fort Ward is the best preserved of the extensive system of Union forts that comprised the Civil War Defenses of Washington.  The battle reenactment is staged around the fort’s authentically restored Northwest bastion, a highlight of the historic site which was reconstructed for the Civil War Centennial.   The Museum features exhibits, programs and special events throughout the year. 

Fort Ward Museum and Historic Park is located at 4301 West Braddock Road in the west end of the City of Alexandria.  Public parking for the Battle of Fort Stevens 150th Reenactment event will be on both sides of West Braddock Road and at T.C. Williams Minnie Howard Campus at 3801 West Braddock Road.  For more information about this special Civil War 150th event, please call 703-746-4848, or visit