Civil War Historical sites are numerous in Virginia and are still huge draws for visitors. One of these is in Waynesboro. Just west of Charlottesville, Virginia, Waynesboro(http://www.waynesboroheritagefoundation.com) offers visitors two museums steeped in historical treasures.
The Heritage Museum, located at 420 West Main Street and The Plumb House Museum at 1012 West Main Street will keep your curiosity fed and peeked at the same time.
Take a stroll through these museums and learn all about the “Battle of Waynesborough”. You’ll find out all about how this battle commenced on March 2, 1865 and was a Union victory. You’ll also learn what happened to General Jubal Early, whose last battle this was.
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Commander James S. Ward, well known as a scholar and an authority on tactics and gunnery, was the first Union naval officer mortally wounded after the outbreak of the Civil War. Ward was well known because, among other accomplishments, he was instrumental in establishing the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland.
At the outbreak of the Civil War, Union commanders understood that a Confederate blockade of the Potomac was a serious threat to the main supply line for Washington, D.C. As a result, a flotilla of seven Navy vessels under the command of James Ward were dispatched to protect the waterway for shipping. In the earliest days of the war, that flotilla was involved in an action to support the strategic redeployment of a small Federal force at Mathias Point. During this action a Confederate sniper shot Ward, and he died shortly thereafter.
One of these forts was named after Commander Ward, and today Fort Ward is the best preserved of this fort system. During the war, Fort Ward was the fifth largest fort defending the Capitol and thus deterred Confederate forces who never attacked its earthen walls. The Union Army abandoned the Fort in December 1865, and shortly thereafter any salvageable materials were sold at auction.
The land is now owned by the City of Alexandria. During the time of the war, the fort was a dusty (at times muddy) place, stripped of vegetation and armed with cannons. Today, it is a manicured oasis of greenery in the city of Alexandria.
On the grounds of old Fort Ward, Fort Ward Museum and Historic Site serves as a park, educational center and cultural remembrance for those who served here. The museum has exhibits on general Civil War topics as well as interpretive programs specific to Fort Ward and Alexandria during the Union occupation. Fort Ward can be entered at 4301 West Braddock in Alexandria, Virginia.
One of the busiest intersections in Old Town Alexandria Virginia occurs where Prince St. crosses Washington St. This intersection is dominated by a memorial of the U.S. Civil War. Over the years, and on several occasions, drivers have crashed their vehicles into the statue. As a result some folks filed petitions to have the memorial moved. But the statue has not moved and remains a fixture in Alexandria.
The statue remains because of the historical significance of the statue’s location. In 1861, at the place where the statue now stands, the sons and fathers, brothers and men of Alexandria gathered to pick up arms against the Union. After the Civil War, the surviving veterans formed a chapter of the United Confederate Veterans. Together members of the organization commissioned a memorial for their fallen comrades. The statue’s design depicts an unarmed Confederate soldier at Appomattox. The soldier’s head is bowed as he observes the Confederate surrender. The statue was dedicated on May 24th, 1889.
The George Washington Parkway is one in the same with Washington St. as the Parkway passes through Old Town, and thus the Parkway, and some of Old Town’s heaviest traffic, passes the statue. As originally planned, the Confederate Statue was surrounded by a fence and ornamental gas lamps, but by 1923, motor vehicles and electric lights caused a change in design. The traffic continue to increase on South Washington Street and 1932 when construction of the Parkway was completed, the grounds surrounding the statue were paved over. The pictures below depict the statue as it looked prior to the completion of the GW Parkway at a time when motor vehicles were still relatively uncommon.
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The Lyceum is located at the heart of Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. Built in 1839 and managed by gentlemen who formed with the Alexandria Library Company, The Lyceum remains to be historical and patriotic in its structure, with Greek style architecture on the exterior. The outside of the building is in the Greek style form of architecture which gives The Lyceum a distinct look. For tourists who plan to visit The Lyceum there are many historical memorabilia items which include the Civil War, documents, antique silver, photographs, furniture, and 19th century stoneware. The Lyceum was intended to be the cultural center of Alexandria and now it has returned to its former prominence.
The Lyceum has served many purposes for its country over the years. It was a cultural center in Alexandria before the Civil War broke out. It was then used as a hospital by the Union Army during the Civil War. It was even used as an office building, a private home and the first Bicentennial Center in the nation. It was in 1985 when The Lyceum was made as Alexandria’s Historical Museum.
The Lyceum can be rented by the community and by private parties for concerts, lectures, school programs, volunteer functions and weddings. Tourists can also enjoy viewing historical memorabilia from the Civil War, documents, antique silver, photographs, furniture and 19th century stoneware.
If you love history, you’ll love living in Northern Virginia. Around every corner you’ll find American History from the colonial era in Old Town Alexandria to the Revolutionary War to the Civil War. Perhaps the most famous battles in the Civil War were fought in Manassas near the creek called Bull Run. This picture shows Centreville in 1862.