NPS to partner with communities North and South to commemorate the 1864 Overland Campaign in Virginia
Contact: Elizabeth Paradis Stern, 804-226-5023
Contact: Beth Parnicza, 540-372-3031
Contact: Ann Blumenschine, 804-732-3531 x203
Memorial Day weekend program will connect battlefields with communities devastated by losses from the campaign
RICHMOND, Va.–On May 24, 2014, as part of the nationwide Civil War sesquicentennial commemoration, the National Park Service will present Reverberations, an innovative program connectingthree national parks in Virginia and eight communities around the country to illustrate the devastating impact of the Civil War on communities across the country. From Maine to South Carolina and from Michigan to Mississippi, partner communities both North and South will join with the National Park Service to hold special programs and simultaneous candlelight illuminations to vividly illustrate how the 1864 Overland Campaign reverberated beyond the Virginia countryside into communities across the nation. The campaign's battles were devastating for soldiers in the field, and each death or wound rippled outward, causing heartbreak in localities North and South that these soldiers called home.
Three national parks in Virginia – Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park, Richmond National Battlefield Park, and Petersburg National Battlefield – will send Park Rangersto sister communities to joinin commemorative programs and presentations throughout the day. That evening, they will participate in candlelight illuminations in each community, commemorating the lives lost in the battles and symbolizing the connection between the home front and the battlefield.
Reverberations will take place in Litchfield, Connecticut; Nicholasville, Kentucky; Bangor, Maine; Dearborn, Michigan, Natchez, Mississippi; Wilmington, North Carolina; Charleston, South Carolina; and Stockbridge, Wisconsin. At the three national parks, Reverberations will occur at Fredericksburg National Cemetery; at the Cold Harbor Battlefield near Richmond; and at Poplar Grove National Cemetery, Blandford Cemetery, and City Point National Cemetery in Petersburg. The programs in South Carolina and Mississippi will be supported by national park units, with Fort Sumter National Monument hosting programs focusing on South Carolinians who lost their lives in Virginia during the campaign, and Natchez National Historical Park commemorating Mississippians who never returned home.
More information about the program can be found below and online here.
The Overland Campaign
In May 1864 – the fourth year of the Civil War – Lt. General Ulysses S. Grant embarked on a campaign to destroy General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.In a series of battles that devastated Central Virginiaand became known as the Overland Campaign, Union soldiers steadily moved south while facing off with Confederate foes at the Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House, along the North Anna River, and at Cold Harbor, just 10 miles from the Confederate capital. However, mounting casualties – ultimately reaching almost 100,000 in five weeks of action – and intense Confederate opposition forced Grant to change his strategy and focus his attention on Richmond's main supply base -- Petersburg. The June 1864 attacks on Petersburg brought an end to the Overland Campaign and Grant laid siege to the Lee's army at Petersburg.The bloody conflicts around Richmond and Petersburg in 1864-65 led to the end of the Civil War in April 1865 at Appomattox Court House.
The communities participating in Reverberations include:
Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park preserves and protects four major Civil War battlefields and the "Stonewall" Jackson Shrine. Here in the woods and fields around Fredericksburg, the Civil War roared to its bloody climax, and armies occupied, maneuvered, and fought over this landscape for 18 months of the war. The park has two visitor center sites at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, and each of the four battlefields features its own driving tour. Information about the park and its planned activities is available by phone at (540) 373-6122 and online at www.nps.gov/frsp and www.facebook.com/FredericksburgSpotsylvaniaNMP.
Richmond National Battlefield Park protects 13 Civil War sites in Hanover, Henrico, and Chesterfield counties.Experiencing the park's battlefield sites and five visitor centers usually takes a full day.The main park visitor center is located at Historic Tredegar (470 Tredegar Street in Richmond) and provides museum exhibits, audio-visual programs, and orientation services to help plan a visit to the battlefields.For additional information, please contact Richmond National Battlefield Park at 804-226-1981.Park information and updates about programs and events are also available on the park's website at www.nps.gov/rich and on Facebook (www.facebook.com/RichmondNPS).
Petersburg National Battlefield was created in order to commemorate the campaign and siege and defense of Petersburg, VA, in 1864 and 1865. Laid out along a thirty mile-long driving tour, the park's battlefields and three visitor centers help connect visitors to the 9-½ month long campaign. For more information, please call 804-732-3531. Park information and updates about programs and events are also available on the park's website at www.nps.gov/pete and on Facebook (www.facebook.com/PetersburgNPS).