4th – 16th July 2014
In April 1861 the North & South went to war. Nobody where ever they lived could have visualized that it would end four years later, with the deaths of over 600,000 Americans. Civil War had come to America. At Manassas in July 1861, the armies met at the first major battle. Mainly volunteers, these citizens, fighting for what they believed in, experienced the horror of war for the first time. The cries ‘On to Richmond’ and ‘it will be over by Christmas’ echoed around the North. It was not going to be that easy. Over the next three years, under various Army Commanders, the Federals advanced, were repulsed and withdrew. It was not until early 1864 when General US Grant took command that Union might and resources began to grind the Confederates down. Over 50,000 Union soldiers became casualties in three months. Would the North continue to send their sons to die? Perseverance, bravery and industrial strength finally overwhelmed the South. In early April 1865 it was all over at Appomattox Court House.
Day 1: (4 July): Fly in to Washington Dulles to be met by your guide. Hotel tonight Manassas.
Day 2: (5 July): Visit the Manassas Battlefield where the 1st & 2nd Battles were fought. At Henry Hill there is a statue to General Jackson, immortalized by the words of General Bee, ‘there stands Jackson like a Stonewall rally behind the Virginians’. Both battles are major defeats for the Federals; the rebellion will not be put down so easily. The cries of ‘On to Richmond’ are quiet once more. Drive to Fredericksburg for overnight stay.
Day 3: (6 July): Visit the Battlefields of Fredericksburg & Chancellorsville. In December 1862, the Federal Army, under Ambrose Burnside, crosses the Rappahannock River and engages a well-entrenched and large Confederate Army. At the Sunken Wall in one day the Union Army will suffer 12,000 casualties. The following year, once more the Army of the Potomac appears under a new commander, ‘Fighting’ Joe Hooker. Stonewall Jackson proposes a daring plan to flank the Union’s open left flank. A great victory is dampened by the wounding and eventual death of Lee’s ‘right arm,’ Jackson. 2nd night in Fredericksburg.
Day 4: (7 July): Drive to Harpers Ferry. In 1859 John Brown and his men captured the Federal Armoury. Some might say that this was the start of the Civil War. Harpers Ferry on the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers, together with the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, was an important town for both sides. When Lee went north in September 1862 it had a garrison of 12,000 men. Jackson’s Corps invested the town, which was forced to surrender. His men then hurried to rejoin Lee at Sharpsburg in Maryland. That day in September became the ‘bloodiest’ day in US history; 22,000 Americans became casualties. We will visit the Battlefield visitors centre and then drive and walk this battlefield, which has altered little in the last 150 years. 1st night in Gettysburg
Day 5: (8 July): Early in the morning of 1 July 1863, a Confederate patrol reported that only militia held this small town. A strong Confederate force was met by not the militia but by General John Buford’s Cavalry Brigade. A skirmish soon became a major battle as more and troops from both sides arrived. Confederate success pushed the Union troops through the town on to Cemetery Ridge. The day had been won! 2nd night in Gettysburg.
Day 6: (9 July): 2 July dawned hot and sunny. Today Lee was convinced that he could win the battle by attacking both flanks of the Union Army, which was now positioned as a ‘fishhook’. Finding the Federal left flank lightly guarded at the Big & Little Round Tops, Confederate soldiers swarmed forward. There and in the Peach Orchard and Wheatfield bloody clashes occurred. By nightfall no gains had been made. 3rd night in Gettysburg.
Day 7: (10 July): By the morning of 3 July, Lee’s last Division had joined the Army; George Pickett with his Virginians. After a fierce artillery bombardment, 12,000 men move forward, their goal the centre of the Federal line. Many Confederates reach this line only to be cut down or captured. The dreams of the Confederacy were dashed. Overnight Winchester.
Day 8: (11 July): Winchester changed hands over 70 times, with 5 major battles fought in and around it. We will also visit Jackson’s Headquarters, where he was during the winter of 1861/62. Cedar Creek was the last opportunity for Jubal Early to destroy Sheridan’s Army in late 1864. What was nearly a victory turned into a route. Later this afternoon we will walk the battlefield at New Market, made famous by the charge of the cadets from the Virginia Military Academy. Overnight New Market.
Day 9: (12 July): As we drive out of the Shenandoah Valley via the New Market gap, spare a thought for the soldiers who had to march up and down these mountains. In the spring of 1864, a new Union General U.S. Grant, with 100,000 men pushed into the Wilderness. The move to end the rebellion was in sight. Here and at Spotsylvania vicious fighting took place. Over the next 3 weeks, 50,000 Americans became casualties. Overnight Richmond
Day 10: (13 July): Our first visit today is to the old Tredegar Iron Works, now the site of the Richmond HQ of the National Park Service. In 1862 George McClellan and his Army advanced up the peninsula in action that would end with the 7 days battle; we will look at three, Beaver Dam Creek, Gaines Mill & Malvern Hill. Two years later during Grant’s 1864 overland campaigns, the armies met at Cold Harbor. This afternoon we visit the Confederate Museum & White House of the Confederacy. 2nd night in Richmond.
Day 11: (14 July): Drive to Petersburg via Drewry’s Bluff (an artillery position overlooking the James River) then to City Point, Grant’s Headquarters and the major supply depot for the siege against Petersburg before touring the Petersburg Battlefield Park, which follows the Confederate defense line, including the Crater. In April 1865 strong pressure to the south at Five Forks led to the loss of the Southside Railroad. The way to Petersburg was finally open. We now follow General Lee’s retreat to Appomattox. Overnight Appomattox.
Day 12: (15 July): After 4 years and with 600,000 deaths, the war is finally over. We will see where General Grant & General Lee met to finalize the surrender terms at Appomattox Court House. Overnight Northern Virginia
Day 13: (16 July): We will spend most of this morning at Arlington cemetery (the former home of Robert E Lee). If we have time there will be a brief driving tour of Washington DC before driving to Washington Dulles airport for your early evening flight onward or to your home destination
Cost per person LAND ONLY for this tour from Washington to Washington is USD 3,099.00 per person share twin
For your reservation call Dennis Weatherall SYD (02) 9520 6023 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Battlefields of the World – Dennis is a qualified member of the International Guild of Battlefield Guides
www.gbg-international.com badge # 34.