re-enactment of President Lincoln’s Grand Review in Bailey’s Crossroads, and several events associated with this commemoration will take place next month.
The original Grand Review of the Army of the Potomac consisted of 70,000 soldiers divided into seven marching divisions. The sesquicentennial re-enactment, being organized by the Lincoln at the Crossroads Alliance, will consist of approximately 5,000 people portraying soldiers and civilians divided into five marching divisions. Each division will be headed by a ceremonial detachment and marching band representing one of the five uniformed services (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard). The parade will also include a large contingent of active personnel from the U.S. Armed Forces and Virginia National Guard.
A free concert will inaugurate the group’s year of Civil War sesquicentennial events on Feb. 5 at 4 p.m., at St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church’s Meletis Charubas Community Center, 3149 Glen Carlyn Road in Falls Church.
Renowned pianist and author Elizabeth Smith Brownstein and violinist Sergeant Major Laura Knudson of the U.S. Army Band will present a program of songs of the Civil War period. Brownstein, the author of Lincoln’s Other White House: The Untold Story of the Man and his Presidency, will play music that Lincoln loved and talk about the significance of these songs in his life and his presidency.
On Feb. 11, the alliance will present a symposium at the Willard InterContinental Hotel, 1401 Pennsylvania Ave., in Washington, D.C. to commemorate the Washington Peace Conference, which took place at the Willard in February1861.
This sesquicentennial symposium, “The Peace Conference at 150: A Call to Compromise,” examines the issues, intrigues, and opportunities lost in a first-ever effort to re-examine and reinterpret the conference that almost saved the Union. The symposium is being undertaken in partnership with the Willard Hotel. It is co-sponsored by the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation and is endorsed by The Lincoln Forum.
Several distinguished historians will speak, and Stephen Lang, co-artistic director of the Actor’s Studio in New York City, will deliver Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address at the luncheon. At the close of the symposium, participants will gather outside for the dedication of a 150th anniversary commemorative plaque on the facade of the Willard Hotel.
The Peace Conference of 1861 was the final effort by American politicians to avoid the impending crisis of a Civil War. More than 100 politicians attended, representing 14 northern states and seven southern states. After three weeks of shouting and posturing, the group narrowly approved a document that would have expanded slavery. The U.S. Senate rejected it, and no further workable political compromise was possible to avoid the Civil War.
The Lincoln at the Crossroads Alliance is also undertaking a number of other activities, including the commissioning of an official painting of the Grand Review of 1861 and five other paintings related to the Civil War and a bronze statue of President Lincoln at the Grand Review. The statue will be installed along the parade route on Leesburg Pike on land donated by Target.
Also in the works: the development of a video with the sponsorship of the Bailey’s Crossroads Revitalization Corp., a commemorative medallion of the Grand Review, a proposal for a postage stamp, an art exhibit, a concert with a military band, a series of lectures at the Alexandria campus of Northern Virginia Community College, two Civil War Balls, and a reception for the artists.
The Alliance will facilitate the placement of Virginia Civil War Campaign Trail signs along Route 7 (between the city of Alexandria and Falls Church) and on Columbia Pike (between the Air Force Memorial and Annandale), to be completed by 2015, the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War.