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Fort Ward Museum Hosts 'Civil War Christmas in Camp'

Alexandria Civil War site features a patriotic Santa Claus, living history interpreters, Victorian decorations, craft activities for children, and tours of the historic fort.

Fort Ward Museum is offering visitors the opportunity to learn how Christmas was observed during the Civil War by attending its annual "Christmas in Camp" open house.

The family-oriented event on Dec. 8 from noon to 4 p.m. features a patriotic Santa Claus, living history interpreters, Victorian decorations, craft activities for children and tours of the fort. The suggested donation is $2 for adults and $1 for children.

The program features a Civil War-era Santa Claus, based on a wartime image popularized by artist Thomas Nast, who will read "The Night Before Christmas" to children and listen to their Christmas wishes.

Santa also will visit troops in camp, just as he did on the 1863 cover of Harper's Weekly.

The museum will be decorated with festive greenery and a Victorian tree.

Soldiers stationed in the reconstructed Officers' Hut will open Christmas boxes from home and share how the holiday was observed in winter camps during the Civil War. Soldier-led tours of the fort will be offered, weather permitting

Fort Ward at 4301 W. Braddock Rd. is a fortification in the Civil War Defenses of Washington, a system of forts that protected the Federal capital against Confederate attack. 

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