The American Civil War
The Eastern Theater
During their Civil War more Americans lost their lives than during the whole of WW1 and WW2 combined. For four years battles raged across their continent, but rarely was the fighting fiercer than that which took place in the Eastern Theater, specifically Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. Encouraged by their early victories, the Confederate forces held off subsequent Federal advances around Richmond until they felt confident enough to take the war in to the North, where at Gettysburg, in 1863, they were bloodily repulsed by an indomitable Union army. After achieving their 'high water mark', Southern forces were engaged in a fight against the inevitable which was to finally end at a small court house in Appomattox in April 1865.
Our 13 day tour to the Eastern Theater visits most of the major sites of engagement, especially in Virginia where more important battles were fought than in any other state. We will explore the environs of Richmond, travel up the beautiful Shenandoah Valley and visit the tremendously atmospheric battlefields of Antietam and Gettysburg. The relatively small size of our groups and the willingness of our guide, Fred Hawthorne, to listen to requests mean that we spend longer than the average day on the battlefield. Our hotels are carefully selected to ensure that they have in-house restaurants and bars and are all within a short distance of local facilities.
"That man will fight us every day and every hour until the end of the war."
Lt Gen James Longstreet
Fly London to Washington Dulles. Drive to Manassas and check in to our hotel for one night.
To Manassas, where we explore the first major battle in the east. We visit the visitor centre before ending our day on the adjacent battlefield, known as Second Manassas, Continue to Fredericksburg and check in to our hotel for two nights.
Whilst on the battlefield of Fredericksburg, amongst others we see Marye's Heights and the Stone Wall against which the Union army threw itself. After lunch we explore the field of Chancellorsville, considered by many to have been Robert E. Lee's greatest military victory.
Today we explore General Ulysses Grant's 1864 Overland Campaign including the "Wilderness", Spotsylvania Court House and Grant's bloody assaults at Cold Harbor. Check into our Richmond Hotel for three nights.
This morning we will follow the course of the 1862 "Seven Day's Battles," from Gaines Mill to Malvern Hill, the Union's first serious attempt to capture the city. In Richmond itself we visit the White House and the Museum of the Confederacy.
Today we focus on the siege of Petersburg. We visit the Union HQ and supply-base at City Point, the trenches, redoubts, fortifications and the famous Crater. This afternoon we visit the superb Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier, ending our day at Five Forks where Lee's siege lines were irretrievably broken.
"Never mind, General, all this has been my fault, it is I that have lost this fight, and you must help me out of it the best way you can".
General Robert E Lee
Today we follow Lee's westward retreat via Saylor's Creek to the beautifully restored 19th century village of Appomattox Court House where Lee surrendered the remnant of his army. Continue to Lexington where we check in for two nights.
We pay our respects at the tombs of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson at the Virginia Military Institute and visit Stonewall Jackson's home. This afternoon we watch the VMI cadet parade (subject to scheduling).
Drive down the historic Shenandoah Valley stopping at New Market and Cedar Creek. Continue to Gettysburg and check in to our hotel for three nights.
Today we follow Union General George McClellan's army as it tries to force the strategic South Mountain passes. Then it is on to Sharpsburg along the Antietam creek, one of the best preserved battle sites of the war, where we see, amongst others, the Dunkard Church, Miller's and Otto's Cornfields, the Sunken Land and Burnside's Bridge.
A full day at Gettysburg. We start at the brilliantly restored Cyclorama painting set within one of the finest military museums in the world. Then commence our tour of the battlefield including Oak Hill, Cemetery Hill, Little Round Top, the Wheatfield, Devil's Den and the famous Angle. The highlight of the day will be the 'Pickett's charge' walk.
Check out of our hotel and visit David Will's House in downtown Gettysburg where Abraham Lincoln prepared his famous Gettysburg Address. Depart for Washington and our return flight.