A BGES Weekend Warrior Program
August 19-21, 2018
Presented by Len Riedel from Winston-Salem, NC
With the war coming to an end, General in Chief, US Grant sought military actions that would deny the diminishing Confederate armies the means of sustenance. The ancillary and undercurrent of these tangential actions was a continuation of the “Hard War” policies that undermined the southern morale.
Grant had wanted action to choke off resources coming along the Southside Railroad and James River from Lynchburg, Virginia and had sent several forces against it. When Hunter’s Raid failed in 1864, Grant detailed forces under the command of Major General George Stoneman to move along the supply lines to Lynchburg and Danville. Stoneman delayed his operation defeating the purpose of the raid which would not be timely. In exchange, he brutalized the civilian populace in Virginia and North Carolina. Memories were so jaded that the first monuments marking the raid, in the mid 1930s, were torn down by the sons and daughters of the people who were affected. This is a part of the war that has long affected the continued polarization that exists in some circles even today.
PLEASE NOTE AS BEFITS A CAVALRY RAID WHICH COVERED LARGE AMOUNTS OF MILEAGE, THIS IS PRIMARILY A RIDING TOUR. WE WILL STOP AT SITES OF ENCOUNTERS OF NOTE AND WILL SPEND A MAJORITY OF OUR SECOND DAY IN AND AROUND SALISBURY, NC.
Sunday, August 19, 2018
6:00 PM Check in at headquarters hotel for meet and greet and to pick up your map handout. Len’s opening remarks “Grant’s Final Push-To Gain a Just Peace” will talk about the Lieber Code and General War Orders #100 paying particular attention to the juggernaut that hit the south in May of 1864. A spirited Q&A will follow before breaking so you can go get some dinner on your own.
Monday, August 20, 2018
Stoneman was finally ready to move into against Lee’s supply lines. Grant had wanted him to cut the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad towards Lynchburg, Virginia; however, he had failed to move in a timely fashion and Lee was about played out. We will depart around 8 AM to head into Virginia to follow Stoneman’s raid to Hillsville, Wythville, Christiansburg and Henry Court House (Martinsville, VA). We will then return to Danbury and Dalton, NC where Stoneman was further engaged on the day Lee surrendered (April 9th). In 25 years of BGES’ existence I am unaware that this tour has ever been done before. We will then return to the hotel. Lunch is included. Dinner will be on your own.
Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Lee’s war was over-surrendered at Appomattox. Confederate forces were still active in and around Greensboro and the Confederate government was now ready to flee Danville, Virginia. After dispatching with an engagement in Salem, we will travel to Greensboro where there is an engagement at Reedy Creek. Here Stoneman, unknowingly, just misses capturing Jefferson Davis. We will continue with Stoneman’s split force to High Point and Lexington where there are additional clashes on April 11th.
Our major effort today will be at Salisbury where a Confederate prison has been emptied and a spirited defense will slow the federal occupation of this key railroad hub. While the raid goes on much longer the active engagements are generally completed and the Federals engage in systematic destruction of any “war materials” left to the south. We will follow the Federals to Statesville and Taylorsville before returning to Winston-Salem by 4 PM. We will then return to the hotel with the program now completed. Lunch included with the program dismissing before dinner. Thank you for coming.
Len Riedel is the founder and Executive Director of the Blue and Gray Education Society. A graduate of the Virginia Military Institute and Old Dominion University, this 20 year Air Force veteran has led multiple tours stateside and overseas. His most recent program was “In Washington’s Footsteps” which looked at Washington’s Trenton and Princeton Campaign and the battle at Monmouth Courthouse. Editor of the best selling, The Civil War, A Traveler’s Guide published in 2016 by National Geographic, Riedel now turns his attention to this heretofore unknown and unappreciated military operation at the end of the war.
This program will be based in Winston-Salem, NC. The hotel will be posted on this site. The headquarters hotel room block will likely be in the $100 a night range.
The servicing airport is Greensboro (25 miles) (GSO). You can however get better airline options flying to Charlotte (140 miles)(CLT) or Raleigh-Durham (93 miles)(RDU). The program is also easily accessible by automobile. You would need a rental car to come on to Winston Salem. If you are planning to do our Over-the-Mountain Men program starting on August 22nd then Charlotte is your best arrival airport since that program will be based in Charlotte.
Key Publications and Recommended Reading
You will be provided with a reading book and maps upon arrival. We recommend the following books to enhance your preparation for this tour. Amazon.com has a program to support non profits IF YOU SIGN UP to support Blue and Gray Education Society (EIN 54-1720582) at AmazonSmile. When you sign up there rather than the normal Amazon site one half of one percent of your purchase price is provided to BGES as a donation from Amazon. This will apply not only on this purchase but others you may make at other times.
- Chris Hartley: Stoneman’s Raid 1865
- Blue and Gray Magazine Vol XXVI #6 (2010): Stoneman’s 1865 Raid in Central North Carolina (written by Chris Hartley)
- John Barrett, The Civil War in North Carolina
Registration includes two lunches, battlefield maps, the academic program, support of a professional historian, tour director and transportation appropriate to the registration. We will also provide snacks, bottled water and a limited selection of sodas.
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Download a printable itinerary and registration form.