Bailey’s Crossroads, Va., just west of Washington D.C., is today a busy commercial district dominated by high-rise apartment buildings. But on Nov. 20, 1861 when President Lincoln reviewed 70,000 well-drilled troops there, the area was farm land. At the end of the dazzling military display carefully choreographed by Gen. George B. McClellan, Lincoln and the North were reassured that the Union could field an army capable of defeating the Confederates in the Civil War.
A reenactment of that Grand Review of the Troops on a much smaller scale will take place on Nov. 12 along a section of the old parade route on what is now Leesburg Pike. About 5,000 marchers are expected and will include active duty soldiers, military bands and re-enactors dressed in period uniform. To fill out the ranks, members of local citizens’ groups and school children will also participate.
The Lincoln at the Crossroads Alliance, the non-profit organization responsible for the parade, has also scheduled several events for Nov. 11 including a conference on the history of Bailey’s Crossroads, a concert of period music and a Civil War ball. All events are free except the ball.