A 2019 BGES Day of History Program
September 29, 2019
When Robert E. Lee took command of the Army of Northern Virginia, he immediately began to look for ways to push the Federal Army of the Potomac under the command of George McClellan away from the Confederate capital of Richmond. With limited opportunities to the south of McClellan and the Union command of the James River, Lee looked to the Federal V Corps under the command of Maj. Gen. Fitz John Porter, which was separated from the main body of the Federal army by the Chickahominy River.
Lee was not certain what was going on behind the Federal Lines, and so he called upon his young cavalry commander, J.E.B. Stuart, to find out what he needed to know. The ride from June 12 to 15 is one of the legends of the war. This tour is about that mission.
Sunday, September 29, 2019
8:30 AM. We will meet at the Holiday Inn, Richmond Airport, to depart on our tour. You can leave your car in the parking lot. Our first stop will be at the Dabbs House–Lee’s headquarters–where we will talk about what Stuart already knew and what Lee asked him to do. We then will set off on the ride that moved north of Richmond along the Telegraph Road (today’s U.S. Route 1) to a spot north of Ashland, where Stuart turned toward the Federals near Hanover Court House.
Stuart now begins to encounter the Federal cavalry screens deployed to cover Porter’s right–he must determine where the infantry stops and what, if any, activities of importance are taking place on that front. As we pass Mechump’s Creek, we will move back into Confederate controlled territory and will pass the Shelton House where Lee and Stonewall Jackson would meet to discuss Jackson’s role in the coming Seven Days Campaign. Stuart moves on to Haw’s Shop, and the cavalry pushes across Totopotomy Creek to Linney’s Corner, where the Federal cavalry made a stand. Here Stuart will lose one of his young officers, Capt. William Latané. The painting of Latané’s burial is one of the great artifacts of the war, as it romanticizes the role of the southern woman. Stuart now had the information he needed, but at Old Church he makes the decision to continue forward for the James River rather than fight his way back through pursuing Federals.
Stuart’s decision uncovered the supply network of McClellan’s army, and we will move across that line to West Point at the head of the York River. At Tunstall’s Station, Stuart’s raiders attempt to destroy a supply train on the York River Railroad, but the imminent arrival of Federal troops chase him away, past St. Peter’s Church (where George Washington married Martha Dandridge), and across the Chickahominy River to Charles City Courthouse, where Stuart was again on friendly ground. Our tour concludes with our return to the Holiday Inn parking lot around 4:30 PM. Lunch is included.
About the Faculty
Len Riedel is the Executive Director of the Blue and Gray Education Society, which he founded in 1994. He is a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute and Old Dominion University. A retired Air Force officer, Riedel plans over 30 annual tours and personally conducts eight tours a year for Wounded Warriors out of Fort Belvoir. Len is the editor of the national bestselling National Geographic book, The Civil War, A Traveler’s Guide.
This one-day program does not require a hotel, but should you wish to stay a night you can find many suitable properties in and around the Richmond International Airport. We will depart from the Holiday Inn hotel parking lot, 445 International Center Drive, Sandston, VA, where you may leave your car for the day.
The servicing airport is Richmond International Airport (RIC), which is served by Southwest Airlines. The departure point is centrally located and easily accessible via I-64 and I-295.
You will be provided with a handout upon arrival. The following books are suggested to enhance your readiness for the program. 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 will be provided to BGES as a donation from Amazon. This will apply not only on this purchase but others you may make at other times.
William Wallis Blackford: War Years with JEB Stuart
Brian Burton: Extraordinary Circumstances: The Seven Days Battles
Burke Davis: Jeb Stuart: The Last Cavalier
John Fox III: Stuart’s Finest Hour: The Ride Around McClellan June 1862
Register for this program using a secure PayPal link
To register by mail or fax, download this printable registration form: Lee’s Eyes and Ears: Stuart’s Ride around McClellan in June 1862