Historical Impersonations
Bringing History to Life through First-Person Portrayals

Antonia Ford (1838-1871), a resident of Fairfax Courthouse, Virginia, was twice arrested and imprisoned as a spy for the Confederacy during the American Civil War.

A staunch supporter of the South and friend and honorary aide-de-camp of General J. E. B. Stuart, Antonia provided valuable information prior to the first and second battles of Manassas and may have assisted John S. Mosby, the infamous raider, in his capture of  General Edwin Stoughton at Fairfax Courthouse. Antonia married Union Major Joseph C. Willard, one of the founders of Washington’s Willard Hotel, in 1864.

Emily Lapisardi’s portrayal of Antonia Ford Willard was developed at the request of the International Spy Museum for the Civil War Spy Profiles Seminar held at the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington, D. C in April 2006.  She returned to the Willard in July of 2011 as one of three speakers for the International Spy Museum’s “Civil War Sisterhood of Spies” event.

In 2007, Emily performed as Antonia Ford at Civil War Days at Fair Oaks Mall in Ford’s native Fairfax County.  She stars in ”Spies in Crinoline,” a 2009 docudrama by BLM Productions which features the wartime experiences of Antonia Ford and Laura Ratcliffe, and has also portrayed Antonia for events at Old Economy Village and the Heinz History Center.

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