Clash for the Capital: Richmond and the Seven Days Battles

Drewry’s Bluff and the Seven Days Battles, Part One

Guides: Christopher Kolakowski, Robert E.L. Krick, Ashley Whitehead

Description:The Seven Days battles involved nearly one-fifth of a million men grappling across dozens of miles of country roads. Their actions converted obscure intersections like Mechanicsville and Glendale into sites internationally famous in military history. Six weeks earlier, the defeat of the U. S. Navy at Drewry’s Bluff became a key factor in the development of George McClellan’s campaign to strangle Richmond. This tour will visit the fort at Drewry’s Bluff, and then will trace R. E. Lee’s offensive at Mechanicsville and Gaines’s Mill on June 26 and June 27, the first two of the Seven Days battles. Estimated walking is approximately three miles, in several different segments during the course of the day. Bug spray is recommended. Lunch will be provided.

Part One, Limited Walking

Guide: Ed Sanders

Description:The Limited Walking Bus will see much of the same, with a minimal amount of walking. Total amount of walking on this tour will be one mile or less. Lunch will be provided. This tour will start out at the NPS Civil War Visitor Center at Tredegar Iron Works.

The Seven Days Battles Part Two: The Rise of R. E. Lee and the Successful Escape of the United States Army.

Guides: Ed Bearss, Bert Dunkerly, Christopher Kolakowski, Robert E.L. Krick

Description:The Part Two tour examines the period between June 28 and July 1, 1862, when McClellan’s army moved toward the James River, intent on avoiding a major defeat while Lee’s Confederates pursued with high hopes and rising momentum. Stonewall Jackson’s difficulties at White Oak Swamp, the narrow escape of the Union army at Glendale, and Lee’s ill-advised attack at Malvern Hill are key features of the day’s trip. Perhaps no tour anywhere in the country can better illustrate the accomplishments of the Civil War Trust than this one; nearly the entire day will be spent on ground saved by the Civil War Trust. Estimated total walking will be approximately three miles. Bug spray highly recommended for these sites. Lunch will be provided.

Part Two, Limited Walking

Guide: Bert Dunkerly

Description:The Limited Walking Bus will see much of the same, with a minimal amount of walking. Total amount of walking on this tour will be one mile or less. Lunch will be provided. This tour will end with a visit to the Museum of the Confederacy.

The best spots on the Seven Days Battlefields: A Hiking Tour

Guides: Ed Bearss and Michael Andrus

Description:Participants in this tour will exchange comprehensive thoroughness for in-depth treatment of key sites. The tour will visit only Gaines’s Mill, Glendale, and Malvern Hill, the three largest battles in a week of memorable fights. Extensive walking at Gaines’s Mill in the morning will cover the entire two-mile front, and will feature the first detailed examination of the 285-acre tract being purchased by the Civil War Trust in 2012. The afternoon will focus on Glendale, with a stop at the scene of the famous hand-to-hand fighting there, followed by a hike along the path of the disastrous Confederate attack at Malvern Hill. Although the walking is mostly on even ground, it is extensive—probably six miles in total—and participants will see many sites off the usual tour paths. Bug spray is recommended. Lunch will be provided.

Civil War Richmond: A Capital City in War, in Ruins and in Photos

Guides: Mike Gorman and possible guests

Description:Industrial complex, capital city, population center, and war target, Richmond seemed to stand out above all Southern cities throughout the Civil War. Despite its importance and its almost constant position in the crosshairs of Northern politicians, soldiers and reporters, Richmond remained the Confederate capital until the last days of the war. When Union soldiers and their commander in chief entered the city in 1865 they saw what they had only heard about for years—the Virginia State Capitol, Libby Prison, Rocketts Landing, Tredegar Iron Works, Belle Isle Prison, Chimborazo Hospital, Hollywood Cemetery and the White House of the Confederacy. Travel back to Civil War Richmond through period accounts, photos and the foremost authority on the wartime capital city. Expect roughly two miles of walking in different segments throughout the day. Some hilly or rugged terrain may be encountered on optional parts of the tour. Lunch will be provided.

J. E. B. Stuart’s Ride around the Union Army

Guide: Jeffry Wert

Description:R. E. Lee ordered his cavalry commander, Jeb Stuart, to “make a secret movement to the rear of the enemy.” Lee wanted confirmation of previous reports that the Federals’ right flank could be turned. Departing with 1,200 troopers and two cannon on June 12, Stuart encircled George McClellan’s army, destroying or seizing supplies, before returning to Richmond on June 15. The ride electrified Southerners, and Stuart became a Confederate hero. The tour will begin at the site of the wartime Mordecai Farm, where the ride commenced, and follow Stuart’s historic route as much as possible. Stops will be made at the Winston Farm, “Hickory Hill,” Hanover Court House, Haw’s Shop, Linney’s Corner, Old Church Tavern, Garlick’s Landing on the Pamunkey River, Tunstall’s Station, St. Peter’s Church, Charles City Court House, and Rowland’s Mill. At several of the sites, attendees will depart the bus. There is little walking involved. Lunch will be served.

Historic Homes and Gardens

Description:Enjoy some of the unique homes and gardens that Richmond has to offer at these stops: The White House of the Confederacy; Maymont, with a tram ride through their gardens and a tour of the historic mansion; and Wilton House, an 18th Century James River Plantation home moved to its current location in downtown Richmond. Lunch will be provided.

Richmond Today

Description:This tour offers only a few of the many highlights that Richmond has to offer. You’ll visit start the day with a tour at the Virginia State Capitol; followed by time at the Valentine Richmond History Center including a visit to Wickham House; the day will end with a leisurely Canal boat tour. Lunch will be provided.

Color Bearer Tours

Breakthrough at Petersburg

Guides: Garry Adelman, Ed Bearss and A. Wilson Greene

Southwest of Petersburg in 1865: The End
Description:Most visitors to Petersburg tour the National Park Service’s main unit, gaze into the Crater and leave the area, confident that they have “seen the battlefield” when in reality, they have seen only a small portion . The nearly ten-months-long actions around the “Cockade City” involved numerous battles and smaller actions fought along a broad and dynamic front. By 1865, fighting spread far to the southwest and west of Petersburg. Join the historians to see the Civil War Trust’s most impressive earthworks at Hatcher’s Run (February 1865) and walk the actual route of the Union breakthrough (April 1865) that ultimately caused Confederate evacuation of Petersburg and Richmond. Expect roughly three miles of walking over relatively flat but with some rugged terrain. Bug spray is a must.

White Oak Road and Five Forks

Guides: James Blankenship and Chris Calkins

Join us in exploring the final movements by Grant’s encircling army to the west of Petersburg. His main objective was to sever the South Side R.R., Lee’s last lifeline. In a series of engagements beginning on March 29, 1865, fighting took place at the Lewis Farm, Dinwiddie Court House (March 31), White Oak Road (March 31) and culminated with the Battle of Five Forks (April 1) which opened the door to cut the railroad the next day at Sutherland’s Tavern. Five Forks has been known to history as the “Waterloo of the Confederacy.” Expect some trail walking, no more than 2 to 2 ½ miles total throughout the morning. Bug spray is a must.

Choose Your Tours