Western Theatre of the American Civil War (1861 to 1865) Military History Tour
Including Vicksburg, Shiloh, Battles of Nashville and Franklyn, Stones River, Chickamauga, Chattanooga and Battle of Atlanta
The following is the detailed itinerary of the 14 day (13 night) tour of the Western Theatre of the American Civil War.
This tour complements our Eastern Campaign Tour and covers the main battles fought in the states west of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. Thus we travel through Mississippi, Tennessee and Georgia covering such key battles as Vicksburg, Shiloh, Corinth, Franklin, Nashville, Stones River, Chickamauga, Chattanooga, and Atlanta plus many less significant battles but often equally interesting.
We engage specialist local battlefield guides on all major battlefield touring days. Most we have chosen in close consultation with the nearby National Park Service Visitors’ Centres. All the key battlefields we visit are now major National Park Service battlefield parks with significant Interpretative Centres with introductory films.
As with our Eastern Campaign Tour, the Western Campaign Tour is limited to 7 tour participants and requires a minimum of 4 tour participants to run.
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.
Superior standard accommodation will be booked (in most cities, the best available). Of the 13 evenings on tour, there are 6 dinners included as part of the tour. The tour dinners include food but exclude drinks (4) other than for the welcome and farewell dinners (2).
Day 1 – Arrive Jackson, MS
Arrive Jackson and check into your tour hotel.
Day for independent exploring of Jackson, the capital city of Mississippi with a tour welcome dinner that evening. Earlier pre tour nights can be booked with recommended pre tour activities.
Accommodation – Jackson (1 night)
Day 2 – Vicksburg
Today we drive 45 minutes due west of Jackson to the city of Vicksburg, located on the eastern bank of the mighty Mississippi River. The battle for Vicksburg, held by the Confederacy, prevented Union control of the Mississippi. In Union hands, this would separate the Confederacy. During Day 1 of our 2 day study of the Vicksburg Campaign, we visit the key nearby battlefields of Raymond and Champion Hill with stops at Grand Gulf and Windsor Springs.
Accommodation – Vicksburg (2 nights)
Day 3 – Vicksburg
Our 2nd day will be spent at the Vicksburg Battlefield Park covering the 2 month siege of Vicksburg by a Union army, commanded by Ulysses S Grant. The Confederate forces were ultimately defeated and Vicksburg surrendered on 4 July 1863 with 29,000 Confederates going into captivity (although all were paroled). This was a day after the conclusion of the Battle of Gettysburg and a significant turning point in the Civil War. We will visit both Union and Confederate lines, tour the restored iron clad battleship Cairo and conclude the afternoon with a historic Vicksburg City Tour.
Day 4 – Battle of Brice’s Crossroads - Corinth
Today we drive north and base ourselves in Corinth, in Mississippi, just south of the border with Tennessee.
En route we lunch at Tupelo, birthplace of Elvis Presley and early afternoon we stop at Brice’s Crossroads, where in June 1864 a cavalry force of 4,800 commanded by General Nathan Bedford Forest defeated and routed a cavalry force double the size commanded by Union General, Samuel D Sturgis. This battle has been studied over the years as it is a textbook example of an outnumbered force defeating a much larger force through better tactics and aggressive offensive action.
This is our only long drive of the tour – 273 miles (4 ½ hours). We will ensure plenty of stops on the road and look to include visits to Civil War Trust sites where nearby.
There should be time to look around the historic town of Corinth prior to dinner at one of the local restaurants.
Accommodation: Corinth (2 nights)
Day 5 – Battle of Shiloh
We drive 20 miles north this morning to the battlefield park of Shiloh, one of the best preserved of all the NPS battlefield parks. In April 1862, a two day battle at Shiloh was fought on the banks of the Tennessee River, then by far, the largest battle of the Civil War. Technically it was considered a Union victory under Ulysses S Grant, as the Confederate forces vacated the field of battle at the end of day 2. However, losses on the Union side were higher. General Albert Sydney Johnson, the leader of the Confederate forces was mortally wounded on the 1st day of the battle and remains the only full General to be killed during the Civil War. We spend a full day exploring the Shiloh battlefield, including the extensive Visitors Centre before we return to Corinth.
Day 6 – Corinth/Nashville
This morning, we visit the Corinth Visitors Centre and battlefield park. Corinth was a vital rail link for the Confederate States, with a railroad crossing that connected the Confederacy from the Gulf of Mexico to Kentucky and from the Mississippi River to the Eastern Atlantic states.
Here we will consider the two battles of Corinth, including the siege of Corinth, which were fought following the battle of Shiloh in 1862. Again it was a victory for the Union forces. We will visit the NPS headquarters and watch an introductory film of the two battles.
This afternoon, we drive due north to Nashville. We will base ourselves for 3 days in Nashville, the capital of Tennessee.
Accommodation – Nashville (3 nights)
Day 7 – Nashville
Today is a free day for independent exploring of Nashville, the country and western capital of the world, and its many museums and local sights, including its Capitol State House.
Day 8 – The Battle of Franklin/Battle of Nashville
Following the defeat of Confederate General Hood’s forces at the gates of Atlanta in 1864, General Sherman’s forces headed east in his famous march through Georgia to the coast. Meanwhile Hood’s forces regrouped and headed north through Georgia and into Tennessee with a view to recapturing the state of Tennessee.
The Battle of Franklin was fought on 30 November 1864. After many disastrous frontal assaults, the Confederates claimed a victory as the Union forces under General Schofield retreated to Nashville. However, this was anything but a victory as the Confederates suffered over 6,000 casualties, including nearly 2,000 killed (including Major General Patrick Cleburne – generally considered the best Confederate divisional commander in the Western theatre). By contrast, Union deaths were less than 200.
Undaunted, Hood moved onto besiege Nashville, some 20 miles north of Franklin. In one of the most decisive battles of the Civil War, Union forces under General Thomas attacked Hood’s Army on 15 December 1964. The Confederate forces were routed and the remnants of Hood’s Army retreated south of the Tennessee border.
We cover the Battle of Franklin during the morning and the Battle of Nashville in the afternoon.
Day 9 – The Battle of Stones River/Murfreesboro
The Battle of Stones River was fought near the town of Murfreesboro in the middle of winter from 31 December 1862 to 2 January 1863. Of all the major battles in the Civil War, Stones River had the highest percentage of casualties on both sides – a combined 24,000 Confederate and Union casualties. Notwithstanding the high casualties, it ultimately proved an inclusive battle. Most of the offensive actions were undertaken by the Confederate forces under General Braxton Bragg with General Rosecrans commanding the Union forces.
Accommodation – Murfreesboro (1 night)
Day 10 – Murfreesboro/Chattanooga
Late this morning we drive 2 hours south to Chattanooga. During the Civil War, Chattanooga, located on the navigable Tennessee River, was a key railway hub and producer of iron and coal.
A free afternoon exists for exploring the city of Tennessee from our well located downtown hotel.
Accommodation Chattanooga (3 nights)
Day 11 – Battle of Chickamauga
Today we drive 30 minutes south of Tennessee into Georgia to visit the extensive Chickamauga battlefield park with its excellent museum and gun display. The Battle of Chickamauga was fought over 2 days in late September 1863. Losses were appalling with combined casualties of near 35,000. The Confederate forces broke the Union on the morning of the 2nd day and it was only the actions of General Thomas’ forces which prevented a Union rout. Thomas subsequently became known as “The Rock of Chickamauga”. A Confederate victory, Union forces retreated to Chattanooga late on the 2nd day and the siege of Chattanooga commenced where within 3 months all the Confederate gains would be reversed.
Day 12 – Siege and Battle of Chattanooga
We follow many actions this day including the Forces of Ulysses S Grant relieving Chattanooga, and the ultimate breakout and defeat of the Confederate forces during November/December 1863. Three key battles are covered: Orchard Knob, Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge. We will explore Lookout Mountain and take in the wonderful views of Chattanooga and the Tennessee River.
Day 13 – Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield/Atlanta
This morning we’ll drive 90 minutes south of Chattanooga to the Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield Park. This national park commemorates the actual Battle of Kennesaw Mountain and related battles (including the Battle of Atlanta) near Atlanta over the period from June 1864 to September 1864.
The initial battles were between the Confederate commander Joseph E Johnson and Union General, William Tecumseh Sherman and the subsequent battles after Johnson was relieved by Hood. It ended with the surrender of Atlanta after a siege lasting several weeks.
Accommodation – Atlanta – 1 night
Day 14 - Atlanta - Tour Concludes
Our tour ends officially after breakfast. Atlanta permits excellent connecting flights back to
Australia or you may choose to stay on in the USA and explore further.
PTO for details of tour
Participation Cost: US$5,700 pp twin share/US$1,600 single supplement
The Tour Cost Includes:
- 13 nights accommodation and touring as specified
- Breakfast daily, selected meals including welcome and farewell dinners
- Entrance fees to all included sightseeing
- Services of Expert Tour Guides and Trendsetter Travel Tour Manager
- Gratuities and group porterage
The Tour Cost Does NOT Include:
- Travel to and from USA
- Pre/post tour accommodation
- 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 participants, if the tour does not proceed the deposit will be fully refundable. The 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 tour departure. The deposit will then be deducted from this to give the balance owing. No refunds are available after this date other than through your travel insurance policy.
- 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.
- 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 to a merchant fee
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