Eastern Theatre of the American Civil War (1861 to 1865)
Military History Tour From Manassas to Appomattox Court House
Including Gettysburg, Antietam, Harpers Ferry, Manassas, Fredericksburg,
Chancellorsville, Wilderness, Cold Harbour, Petersburg, and Richmond
Trendsetter Travel Tours has developed its own unique 2 week tour of the Eastern Theatre Battlefields of the American Civil War Tour for Australians interested in the period of American history which defined the United States as an indivisible nation and ended slavery. The tour is run on an annual basis where sufficient interest. Our tour parties are limited to a strict maximum of 7 participants. To the maximum practical extent possible, we endeavour to follow the chronology of the Civil War.
The losses were massive, with more United States soldiers having died in the Civil War (over 620,000 and arguably much higher when deaths post the Civil War but due to the Civil War are included) than the aggregate of all subsequent wars fought by US soldiers. The impact still resonates in the South today, where for many, a dislike of the North and in particular, President Lincoln, remains (photos included in this itinerary are courtesy of our June 2016 tour party).
Unlike most Europe battlefields, many American Civil War battlefield sites are preserved as hallowed ground and presented as they were at the commencement of the battles in the early 1860s. Most are designated National Parks (or preserved Civil War Trust sites) with an excellent visitor interpretation centre, and often a theatre showing recreated film footage of the actual battles. All have been upgraded over recent years in preparation for the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. We both walk and drive through the battlefields, stopping at the key sites where each of the regiments
fought and the exact spots where generals were killed or mortally wounded. It was not unusual for 2 or more generals to be killed in the major battles. Our guides at every battlefield, local experts in the particular battles, will provide compelling and incisive commentary to maximise your understanding of the significance of each battle.
Superior standard accommodation (mostly the best available) and specialist guides feature throughout the tour. To maximise your enjoyment, touring will start between 8.30 a.m. and 9.00 am and we include free time for individual exploring. Breakfast daily, welcome and farewell dinners, plus at least 4 other dinners are included, while other meals are not included to allow for flexibility of choice with regard to cuisine and budget.
Day 1 - Washington
By starting the tour in Washington we allow the opportunity for tour participants to spend extra time
in this great city and visit many of the sites, including famous statues and certainly the best selection
of museums and galleries in the USA. Our hotel is at least 4 star and always well located for
Meet together this evening for a welcome drink and get together with fellow tour members before a
tour dinner at a nearby Washington restaurant.
Accommodation – Washington – 1 night
Day 2 – Manassas
During the Civil War, the North generally named a battle after the closest river, stream or creek and the South tended to name battles after towns or railroad junctions. Hence the Confederate named Manassas after Manassas Junction while the Union named Bull Run for the stream Bull Run.
Today we travel less than one hour to Manassas, the scene of 2 major battles. The first, in July 1861, was a Confederate victory whereby General Thomas J Jackson became immortalised and thereafter known as “Stonewall” Jackson. The Union, with 2,900 casualties, retreated to the safety of Washington having inflicted 2,000 Confederate casualties.
Then in August 1862 the battle was significantly larger as evidenced by casualties of 14,000 on each side. Finally however, it was again a Confederate victory by General Robert E Lee over General Pope. We travel south from Manassas to Fredericksburg.
Day 3 – Battle of Fredericksburg
The Battle of Fredericksburg (December 1862) was fought between the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia under the command of General Lee, and the Union Army of the Potomac commanded by General Ambrose Burnside. The Union’s futile frontal assaults against entrenched Confederate defenders is remembered as one of the most one-sided battles of the Civil War with Union casualties more than twice as heavy as those suffered by the Confederates (included is a photo of Fredericksburg as it is today with the battlefield immediately behind the town).
Following our tour of the battlefield, there will be some free time to look around the historic town of Fredericksburg.
Day 4 – Battle of Chancellorsville
The Battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863 is famous for the great Confederate victory of General Lee over General Hooker, tempered by the heavy casualties and death of Stonewall Jackson by friendly fire. This battle is frequently viewed as Lee’s greatest victory since it was achieved over a Union Army twice the size of the Confederate Army and saw Lee take a bold and risky decision to divide his army in the presence of the much larger Union force.
Our day will include a visit to Guinea Station, the site where Stonewall Jackson died and where a memorial now sits (above is a photo of the building at Guinea Station where Jackson died).
Day 5 – Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House Battles
Today we tour the Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House battlefields, both of which form part of the greater Fredericksburg Battlefield Park. Significant battles were fought at both locations during 1864 as the Confederate forces under Lee were forced back towards Richmond by continuous flanking moves by the Union forces under overall command of General Ulysses Grant. Our day concludes with a 2 hour drive to the historic town of Shepherdstown in West Virginia.
Day 6 – South Mountain, Harpers Ferry and Battle of Antietam
We will spend the day with our expert guide visiting the battlefields of South Mountain and Harpers Ferry concluding with the afternoon at the Antietam Battlefield Park (above are photos of the Dunker Church and Sunken Road at Antietam Battlefield).
Situated at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers where the states of Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia meet, the now peaceful town of Harpers Ferry changed hands 8 times during the Civil War. In 1859, just prior to the Civil War, John Brown staged his famous raid on the Harper Valley armoury and subsequently many battles were fought in and around the town. Following visits to South Mountain and Harpers Ferry, we will drive to and tour the extensive Antietam battlefield park and interpretive centre, located in the state of Maryland. This was the most bloody single day’s battle of the Civil War with 23,000 soldiers killed, wounded or missing after 12 hours of savage combat on 17 September 1862. The Battle of Antietam (or Sharpsburg as it is known in the Confederacy) ended the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia’s 1st invasion of the North and led to Lincoln’s famous issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation.
Day 7 – Battle of Gettysburg (Day 1)
Today we will drive a north for a little over one hour to Gettysburg and the well preserved and very large battlefield park. Our morning will include an introduction film viewing the Cyclorama (painting representation of Picketts Charge) and looking around probably the best of all the civil war museums.
The Battle of Gettysburg is considered the most significant battle ever fought in North America and is the high water mark of the Confederacy. Here, the fate of the nation hung in the balance. Fought in Pennsylvania, northwest of Washington, this was General Lee’s 2nd and final attempt to invade the north.
Our afternoon will commence our 1 and ½ day guided tour of the full Gettysburg battlefield with one of the park’s licensed battlefield guides. Today, we will cover the 1st day of the battle – that being from the first shots at Cashtown through to the Confederate troops occupying the town of Gettysburg by the end of the day’s hostilities.
(photograph above is of Gettysburg today looking north west)
Day 8 – Battle of Gettysburg (Days 2 and 3)
Our day starts with a study of the 2nd day of the Battle of Gettysburg and includes visits to such famous places as the Peach Orchard, Slaughter Penn (above left), Little Round Top (view from – above right), Culps Hill, Seminary Ridge, Cemetery Ridge, and Cemetery Hill.
During the afternoon, we will cover the 3rd and final day of the Battle of Gettysburg which saw 12,500 Confederate soldiers attack entrenched Union positions on Cemetery Ridge and suffered over 50% casualties. This is forever known as Pickett’s Charge and here we’ll walk the same steps taken by Pickett’s division on 3 July 1863. Our day will conclude with a visit to the Soldiers National Cemetery (the place of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, when dedicating the cemetery).
In the total battle, the Army of Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia each suffered circa 23,000 casualties, losses that the Confederates could ill afford. It was a decisive turning point. The shattered Confederate forces then staged a successful retreat over the Potomac River back into Virginia and continued to fight on for nearly a further 2 years.
There will be free time to explore the town of Gettysburg on your own prior to our tour dinner at the historic Dobbin Inn.
Day 9 – Battle Brandy Station/Cedar Creek/Richmond
We farewell Gettysburg and drive south to Richmond stopping at Brandy Station, the site of the largest Cavalry battle of the Civil War, Cedar Creek (where the NPS interpretative Centre is located), Winchester (this town changed hands countless times during the Civil War) and the fascinating Graffiti House.
We arrive late afternoon in Richmond, fascinating city which was the capital of the Confederate States of America from 1861 to 1865.
Accommodation – Richmond (5 nights)
Day 10 – Richmond
In Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy, we will tour the city and include visits to Tredegar Ironworks, American Civil War Centre, Museum of the Confederacy, Chimborazo Medical Museum, Hollywood Cemetery and the White House of the Confederacy (shown left).
Day 11 – Cold Harbour and the battlefields around Richmond
As the capital of the Confederacy, Richmond was the target of numerous attempts by the Union army to seize the city and its supplies of munitions, weapons, food and manpower. The Union finally succeeded in April 1865. Today our tour will include visits to Chickahominy Bluffs, Gaines’ Mill Battlefield, Cold Harbour battlefield and Malvern Hill battlefield – all significant in the 1862 Seven Days Campaign and the 1864 Overland Campaign.
Our day will conclude with a tour dinner in Richmond.
Day 12 – Petersburg
We visit the National Park Service Petersburg Battlefield park, some 45 minutes south of Richmond. Within the park there are sites of a number of the major battles including the Crater where the Union forces exploded a massive mine under the Confederate lines but without the expected outcome and which turned into an unexpected Confederate victory.
With continued Union flanking movements, casualties and desertions, the troops holding the Confederate lines continued to thin. On 2 April 1865 a breakthrough was achieved and it led to Lee’s Army of the Northern Virginia retreating over the following 24 hours from Petersburg and the evacuation of Richmond. We visit the scene of the breakthrough before our return to Richmond
Day 13 – Lee’s Retreat & Appomattox Court House
Today we follow the pathway of Lee’s various battles, including Sailor’s Creek, as he fought a rear guard action to attempt to reach his supplies, regroup his troops, and fight on. The struggle ended at Appomattox Court House, scene of the final battle that culminated in his surrender to Grant at McLean House (photo to left). It was the final engagement of the war in Virginia and effectively brought the Civil War in the east to a close.
Tonight we have our farewell tour dinner.
Day 14 – Richmond
Our tour ends officially after breakfast.
For those seeking on-travel arrangements, there are flights from Richmond. Alternatively, the tour mini coach will be relocated this morning to Washington and a complimentary drive to Washington will thus be available.
PTO – for details of tour
US$5,700 pp twin share/US$1,600 single supplement
The Tour Cost Includes:
- 13 nights accommodation and touring as specified
- Breakfast daily and at least 6 dinners including welcome and farewell dinners
- Entrance fees to all included sightseeing
- Services of National Park Approved Tour Guides and Trendsetter Travel Tours Manager
- Group gratuities and group porterage
The Tour Cost Does NOT Include:
- Travel to and from USA
- Pre/post tour accommodation and items of a personal nature
- Beverages other than for welcome and farewell dinners
- Insurance – MANDATORY FOR PARTICIPATION ON THIS TOUR
TERMS AND CONDITIONS – PLEASE READ
A completed reservation form is due at the time of deposit. Payment of your deposit and balance
constitutes acceptance of these terms and conditions.
- A non-refundable deposit of A$2,500 per person is to accompany the booking form to
secure your place on this tour. As the tour is subject to a minimum number of 4, if the tour
does not proceed the deposit will be fully refundable. The non refundable final payment
will be for the full tour price in USD converted to AUD based on the best USD sell rate from
the Major 4 banks as at 10am 4 months prior to the tour departure date. The deposit will then
be deducted from this to give the balance owing. No refunds are available other than
through your travel insurance policy.
- While every effort will be made to operate the tour exactly as per the brochure, the
organisers reserve the right to make changes, should these be deemed essential, due to
changed conditions outside of our control, or in the best interests of the group as a whole.
- Payment by credit card will be subject a merchant fee
- While travel insurance cover is mandatory while in USA, it is recommended to be in place at
time of booking to cover potential need to cancel.
FOR BOOKINGS & ALL ENQUIRIES PLEASE CONTACT
TRENDSETTER TRAVEL TOURS PTY LTD
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