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Grant and Lee: From Cold Harbor to Petersburg Itinerary

Monday, May 14, 2018

6:30 PM. Check in at headquarters hotel for meet, greet, and to pick up your reading books. Gordon’s opening lecture will discuss the dramatic change in fortunes created by Grant’s hammer blows during the previous month. We will have a variety of Domino’s pizzas, snacks, and beverages starting at 6:45 PM. Gordon will speak at 7:15.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

8:15 AM. We will leave the hotel at 8:15 to travel to the Cold Harbor battlefield, where we will examine the Confederate and Union positions following the big battle of June 3. This extensive walk will take us to parts of the battlefield rarely visited by visitors and ground that has been recently acquired by the National Park Service through the efforts of the Richmond Battlefield Association and the Civil War Trust. Of particular interest is the 18th Corps positions and the pivotal Fletcher’s Redoubt. We will then move to the area where Jubal Early attempted to push through the northern end of the Union lines on June 6 and 7. Be prepared for some serious walking and some rugged field conditions. We will have plenty of bug spray, and you will want to wear long pants. Lunch is included, and dinner will be on your own.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

8:15 AM. Today we will follow Grant’s withdrawal from the trenches and his march to the James River. This is really the beauty of the campaign and Grant’s gutsy decision, having lost tens of thousands of soldiers he now risked having Lee discover his intentions and destroying his rear guard. We will pass Moody’s Plantation, where Grant spent the night before crossing the Chickahominy River and explore the route followed by Warren’s V Corps and the important screening action at Riddell’s Shop. We will then view the crossing of the VI Corps and IX Corps at Jones’ Bridge and then over to the site of the II Corps bivouac near Wilcox Wharf. We will close the day with a visit to Charles City Court House and Weyanoke Peninsula, where Union engineers constructed the long, vulnerable pontoon bridge across the James River—truly an engineering marvel. Lunch is included, dinner is on your own.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

8:15 AM. Our final day starts again at 8:15 with a full treatment of Union actions south of the James River. The central event is the assault of June 15 against the Confederates’ thinly manned Dimmock Line. We will visit Bermuda Hundred, from where Baldy Smith initiated the attack; City Point, where Grant would set up his headquarters and provision his massive army now merged with the Army of the James; and Baylor’s Farm, where African-American troops under General Edward Hincks overran General James Dearing’s Confederates, concluding with the general assault against the Dimmock Line by Baldy Smith’s 18th Corps (yet another missed opportunity deflected by the heroic and determined resistance of Beauregard’s small command). Time permitting, we will also retrace Winfield Hancock’s II Corps route from Windmill Point to the Petersburg lines. We will return to the hotel has participated in the first tour Gordon Rhea has ever conducted of this conclusive event of the Overland Campaign. Lunch is included and we will dismiss by 5:30 PM. You can book return flights from 7:30 PM and afterward. Thanks for coming.


Registration includes three lunches, a welcoming pizza party, a reading book with maps, the academic program, support of a professional historian, tour director and on-the-ground transportation appropriate to the registration. We will also provide snacks, bottled water and a limited selection of sodas.

Ten percent of your registration fee is a tax-deductible contribution to the BGES 25th Anniversary Capital Reserve Campaign.

Register for this program online using our secure Sutler’s Tent ecommerce site: Register for Grant and Lee: From Cold Harbor to Petersburg.