American Civil War: Through the Southern Heartland

American Civil War: Through the Southern Heartland

The Southern States and the March to the Sea


American Civil War: Through the Southern Heartland

The Southern States and the March to the Sea


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Tour Introduction

A wonderful 15 day tour which visits some of the most iconic and beautiful Southern cities and countryside in the states of Tennessee, Georgia and the Carolinas. We trace the hard-marched routes of the soldiers of both sides through some uncompromising yet striking country; the battlefields around Chattanooga; the stunning Appalachian Mountains; the beautiful antebellum cities of Savannah and Charleston on the eastern seaboard. Make no mistake, these campaigns involved long marches and consequently we cover a lot of ground during the tour. Whilst this was a campaign of manoeuvre, we will still enjoy some superbly preserved battlefields with their interpretation centres, films, museums and historic buildings. We will hear from specialist park rangers whose stories will compliment those of our excellent guide, Fred Hawthorne. We will see some unusual aspects of the Civil War: the first submarine to sink a ship, fortresses with their extant siege damage, famous locomotives and prisoner of war camps. We’ll stay at great American full service hotels and end each day at a different restaurant where we’ll enjoy some great American food and hospitality.


The last great victory for the Confederate Army was on the bloody battlefield of Chickamauga on 19 – 20 September 1863. But despite this success, their ensuing siege of Chattanooga was finally broken by the unified and reinforced Federal forces in the west under the overall command of Ulysses S. Grant. Subsequently made responsible for all Union forces, as part of his grand pincer strategy, Grant dispatched an army group under Sherman to pursue the Confederate army to Atlanta which fell at the end of August 1864. Abandoning his line of communications Sherman commenced his famous march to the sea which culminated in the fall of Savannah in December. He then turned on Joe Johnston’s recently unified Confederate command and pursued it through the Carolinas finally accepting their surrender at Durham Station on 26 April 1865.


  • With local historian Fred Hawthorne
  • Chickamauga, Chattanooga, Atlanta, Savannah
  • Appalachian Mountains and beautiful Southern cities

"Fredís knowledge of the subject is exceptional, as is his ability to impart it. In addition his organisational skills and social interaction cannot be faulted."


Day 1 – Arrival

Fly London to Chattanooga, Tennessee and check-in to our hotel for three nights. Welcome dinner and introductory talk.

Day 2 - Battle Of Chickamauga

A full day exploring Chickamauga, the great battle of the Western Theater. Much of our time is spent in the field but we find time to visit its orientation film, museum and historic buildings, all set amidst this wonderfully preserved National Military Park, the first and largest in America.

Day 3 - Battles around Chattanooga

We gain an appreciation of the Union assault and capture of Missionary Ridge from Orchard Knob Reservation; pay our respects at the National Cemetery; drive or take the tram to the top of Lookout Mountain, view the electric map, admire the magnificent views over Chattanooga and its surrounding mountains at Point Park and explore Craven Plateau; climb down to Bragg and Longstreet’s fantastic observation Point at Sunset Rock.

Day 4 - The Campaign for Atlanta

In the path of Sherman’s pursuit of Johnston we visit some lesser preserved sites such as Tunnel Hill, the site of the great locomotive chase, the rugged terrain of Rocky Face Ridge, the railroad depot of Ringgold and the Southern Museum of Civil War in ‘Big Shanty’ (Kennesaw) with its famous exhibit - the ‘General’ locomotive. Check-in to our Atlanta/Cumberland hotel for four nights.

Day 5 - The Battles on Atlanta’s Doorsteps

At New Hope Church and Pickett's Mill we explore the last stages of Joe Johnson's defensive retreat before Sherman's force. The last major mountain obstacle is well preserved at Kennesaw Mountain National Park. We obtain great views of the surrounding area and visit its interpretation centre. At Pigeon Hill there are magnificently preserved Confederate breastworks whilst at Cheatham's Hill we visit the earthworks, tunnels and stand upon the glacis like slope.

Day 6 – Atlanta History Center and Stone Mountain

We take a break from battlefields today to visit the famous recently restored and relocated Atlanta Cyclorama at the fabulous Atlanta History Centre, where we can see the ‘Texas’ Locomotive, the Tully Smith Plantation House and the superb museum and gallery which contains some of the finest memorabilia of the era. This afternoon we travel to Stone Mountain with its huge carvings of southern heroes Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Stonewall Jackson. A cable-car ride up to the top of the monolith will provide magnificent views of hundreds of miles of Georgia countryside.

Day 7 - Margaret Mitchell and Martin Luther King Jr

We start the day at the apartment where Margaret Mitchell commenced her famous novel ‘Gone with the Wind’, today a museum dedicated to the influence of both the novel and the film. Whist the remainder the Atlanta battlefields are victims of modern development, we enjoy a series of vignettes at the remaining markers found at Peachtree Creek, Jonesboro, Ezra Church and at Oakland Cemetery, where we find the Lion of Atlanta and the spot used by Hood for observation of the battle of July 22. Finally we pay our respects to one of the great leaders of the civil rights movement at the Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site with its visitor centre, monument, home and tomb.

Day 8 – Andersonville and Ocmulgee

We leave Atlanta behind and visit the Confederate Cemetery at Jonesboro, the final battle for Atlanta. Thence to the infamous and haunting Andersonville Prisoner of War camp with its museum and National Cemetery. Just outside Macon we visit the Native Indian site of Ocmulgee, which possibly pre-dates Stonehenge, and explore its Earth Lodge and Great Temple, the oldest extant buildings in North America. Check-in to our hotel in Macon for one night.

Day 9 - March to the Sea

As we follow Sherman’s right wing to Savannah we visit the site of the small action at Griswoldville and then visit Milledgeville, the old Georgian capital. We explore the defences, shelters and museum at Fort McAlister. Check-in to our hotel in the heart of Savannah for two nights.

Day 10 - Civil War Savannah

We take a walk through Civil War Savannah, the perfect southern city with its Spanish moss covered trees and beautiful residential squares. This afternoon we visit lovely Tybee island and explore Fort Pulaski, complete with extant civil war damage, casements, revetments and moat.

Day 11 – Savannah

A late morning departure to allow time for a quiet walk along the Savanah waterfront before we drive through the low country of South Carolina, stopping en-route at a typical Southern Plantation, to Charleston where we check-in to our hotel for two nights.

Day 12 – Charleston  - the Cradle of the Confederacy

We take a morning walk amidst this wonderful antebellum city, in particular along the ‘Battery’, Charleston’s landmark defensive seawall and promenade with its grand houses. We take a boat trip to Fort Sumter, where the Civil War began and this afternoon we visit the conservation site of H L Hunley, the first submarine to successfully sink an enemy vessel and possibly the most fantastic artefact from the war.

Day 13 - March Through The Carolinas

We regain Sherman’s route through the Carolinas to Bentonville, North Carolina, the last major battle of the war. Set amidst cotton fields we explore the battlefield, its museum and the Harper House hospital. Thence to Raleigh for our final night of the tour.

Day 14 - Surrender

At the Bennett Place we visit the cabin where Generals Johnston and Sherman met to negotiate the surrender of the Confederate army. Continue to Charlotte for return flights to London.

Day 15 - Arrive London


Recommended Reading List

Photo Gallery

  • Stone Mountain
  • Standing atop Stone Mountain
  • Reconciliation statue at Point Park
  • Parrott Rifle. Largest guns on Lookout could barely reach the city
  • Looking toward bridge site in Bentonville - Johnston's escape route
  • Fifteen star flag. Like when this Ft Moultrie was completed in 1815
  • Dr Martin Luther King birthplace
  • Closeup of Stone Mountain Carving
  • Carrier Yorktown
  • Bentonville Battlefield
  • Ashley River side of Drayton Hall
  • 2019 Tour Group

Your Holiday Essentials

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Tour Reviews

Read Our 2017 Tour Report here

Take a look at some of the images taken on our most recent tour

Take a look at some independent reviews of this tour by previous participants here

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