Civil War Dancers Donate $4,000 to Preservation and Education

The Civil War Dance Foundation and its performing troupe, the Victorian Dance Ensemble, recently awarded $4,000 in preservation and education grants to four organizations. One thousand dollars each was donated to the Civil War Trust, the Gettysburg National Military Park, Liberia Plantation House, and the Adopt a Confederate Grave Project of the Gilmor Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Each year, our dancers select organizations and causes to help support preservation and education. We are very pleased to make donations to these worthy organizations to help them preserve our history. With this year’s donations, the total has now reached over $39,000 since the group began awarding grants in 2001. Additionally, the CWDF has helped other organizations raise over $150,000 for historic preservation and education by conducting balls and dance demonstrations.

This Year’s Recipients

The Civil War Trust, based in Washington, D.C., is the largest non-profit organization devoted to the preservation of our nation's endangered Civil War battlefields. It has saved over 34,000 acres in twenty states. The Trust also promotes educational programs and heritage tourism initiatives to inform the public of the war's history. Last year, the CWT launched “Campaign 150: Our Time, Our Legacy” to preserve an additional 20,000 acres during the sesquicentennial of the Civil War. Website

Gettysburg National Military Park, Gettysburg, Pa., received a grant for its Civil War Sesquicentennial living history programs in 2013. The Park is expecting an upsurge in visitation and an expanded living history program will help educate the public about history and the need for preservation. Website

Liberia Plantation House in Manassas. Va., was built in 1825 and served as headquarters for Confederate General P. G. T. Beauregard and as a hospital after the Battle of First Manassas. In the Spring of 1862, as the Union Army advanced into Virginia, General Irwin McDowell used the house as his headquarters. President Abraham Lincoln visited the house to confer with McDowell. The Manassas Museum System has completed the first phase of structural restoration and the CWDF donation will help fund further restoration that is planned. Website

The Col. Harry Gilmor Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Adopt a Confederate Grave project is marking the graves of Confederate soldiers buried in Loudon Park Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland. Many of the existing markers are unreadable so new stones are being made and placed flat on the ground in front of the markers, thus saving the original historic tombstones. Website

CWDF Background

The Victorian Dance Ensemble, the performing troupe of the Civil War Dance Foundation, founded in 1995, has over fifty members from six states and presents more than four dozen public programs each year. It has presented dance demonstrations for the Smithsonian Institution, the National Park Service at Antietam, Arlington House, Gettysburg, Harpers Ferry and Hampton Mansion, Maryland Historical Society, Pennsylvania State Museum, National Civil War Museum, National Theatre of Washington, Whitaker Performing Arts Center of Harrisburg, Ken Burns’ American Journeys, and numerous other historical organizations and sites.

It also conducts fundraising balls, including the National Civil War Ball in Gettysburg on Remembrance Day and the Civil War Preservation Ball in the rotunda of the Pennsylvania Capitol Building in Harrisburg. Both of these balls benefit the Gettysburg National Military Park.

With the commencement of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, the dancers have been in great demand. They presented special 150th anniversary programs for the City of Alexandria, Virginia, Jackson’s 1861 Train Raid, the commemoration of the First and Second Battles of Manassas, Lincoln’s Grand Review of the Army of the Potomac, the Battle of Antietam, and several programs in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Civil War Road Show. This year, the Victorian Dance Ensemble also reprised their role in “For the People,” an oratorio composed by Dr. William “Buzz” Jones of Gettysburg College for the Lincoln Bicentennial.

In May 2011, the Civil War Dance Foundation was named the Civil War Trust’s Reenactment Unit of the Year. The award was one of several presented by the CWT to individuals and groups in recognition of their support for Civil War preservation projects. This was the first time the award was presented to a civilian living history organization.

Annette & Larry Keener-Farley
Civil War Dance Foundation