• Gaines' Mill battlefield -- Watt House area

    Richmond

    National Battlefield Park Virginia

Overland 150th -- The Battle of Cold Harbor

Click here for information about the park's other Overland 150th programs.

 

Programs at the Cold Harbor Battlefield

Unless otherwise noted, exact program times are to be determined and all times are subject to change. Parking for most programs will be at Fairmount Church (6502 Creighton Road, Mechanicsville, 23111) and shuttles will bring visitors to the park. Please check the website for updated information before coming to the park.

Saturday, May 31:

Beyond the Park Boundary: Opening Actions of the Battle of Cold Harbor

These free 45-minute bus tours will explore sites connected with the first two days of the battle east of the park. These will be "windshield" tours departing hourly from the Cold Harbor visitor center area. Limited seating will be available – please inquire at the visitor center tent for details.

An Overview of the Battle of Cold Harbor

Brief walking tours throughout the day will explore the story of Battle of Cold Harbor and its impact on the course of the Civil War.

"Visit the Past" Camp Tours

Offered throughout the day, these tours will explore the armies' camps and aspects of the period, including brief stops looking at life for soldiers and command staff in camp, Civil War-era photography, engineers, and music.

9:00am to 10:00am: Cold Harbor: A Soldier's Perspective

Interactive tour exploring the fighting at Cold Harbor through discussions of the diaries and letters left by participating soldiers.

10:00am to 11:30am: Grant's Greatest Regret? Myths and Realities of the June 3rd Assault

A battlefield tour examining the historical memory, mythology, and reality of the famous June 3rd, 1864 Union assault at Cold Harbor.

Cannon's Roar – Artillery at Cold Harbor

These demonstration programs will focus on the use of artillery at Cold Harbor—they will repeat at various times throughout the day.

Fields of Fire: Infantry Tactics in 1864

These demonstration programs will focus on infantry tactics at Cold Harbor—they will repeat at various times throughout the day.

11:30am to 12:30pm: Leadership Divided: Grant, Meade, and Lee in the Overland Campaign

Lecture/talk with historian and author Gordon Rhea will contrast the leadership styles and challenges faced by commanders on both sides during the Overland Campaign.

12:30pm to 2:00pm: Not War But Murder? Not Murder, but War?: The Battle of Cold Harbor as a Moral Debate

A battlefield tour exploring worth and justness during a time of "hard warfare".

2:00pm to 3:00pm: The Military's Use of Music in the Civil War with the Fort McHenry Guard Fife and Drum Corps

This program will explore how music and instrumentation was used by Union and Confederate armies to communicate across the landscape, in the camps and on the field of battle.

2:30pm to 4:00pm: Rapid Entrenching at Cold Harbor – 1864

This tour with NPS historian and fortifications specialist David Lowe will explore the extraordinary entrenching that took place at Cold Harbor.

4:00pm to 5:00pm: "The African American Experience: Slaves and Freedmen in Hanover County

Join park staff for an overview of slave life and culture in the area during the war and the extraordinary story of the successful escape by a Hanover County enslaved family, beginning in 1862 and ending as the armies concentrated in the area in May and June 1864.

6:00pm to 7:00pm: Popular Music from the Civil War Era with the Fort McHenry Guard Fife and Drum Corps

The Fort McHenry Guard Fife and Drum Corps will offer a concert exploring popular music from the Civil War era.

7:00pm to 8:00pm: "The Battle of Cold Harbor" with featured speaker Gordon Rhea

Exactly 150 years after the Battle of Cold Harbor began, historian Gordon Rhea will explore its impact on the course of the Overland Campaign and the war itself. Rhea is the author of a highly acclaimed series of volumes on Overland battles, including the Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House and Yellow Tavern, North Anna, and Cold Harbor.

8:00pm to 9:15pm: Civil War Era Music with musical ensemble Southern Horizons

8:15pm to 10:00pm: Candlelight Tours of the Cold Harbor Battlefield

Park rangers will guide candlelight tours through the Cold Harbor battlefield. Beginning at 8:15pm, visitors can walk the battlefield and visit with volunteers portraying Union and Confederate soldiers and private citizens. The candlelight tour is appropriate for all ages.

Sunday, June 1:

Beyond the Park Boundary: Opening Actions of the Battle of Cold Harbor

These free 45-minute bus tours will explore sites connected with the first two days of the battle east of the park. These will be "windshield" tours departing hourly from the Cold Harbor visitor center area. Limited seating will be available – please inquire at the visitor center tent for details.

An Overview of the Battle of Cold Harbor

Brief walking tours throughout the day will explore the story of Battle of Cold Harbor and its impact on the course of the Civil War.

"Visit the Past" Camp Tours

Offered throughout the day, these tours will explore the armies' camps and aspects of the period, including brief stops looking at life for soldiers and command staff in camp, Civil War-era photography, engineers, and music.

Battle near Beulah Church on the morning of June 1, 1864

Historian and author Gordon Rhea will discuss the attack of Confederate infantry against Federal cavalry positions near Old Cold Harbor and Beulah Church on the 150th anniversary of the event. Parking information for this program will be posted as details become available.

Operations around Polegreen Church – June 1, 1864

Historian and author Gordon Rhea will explore military operations around Polegreen Church, which was destroyed as fighting raged along Totopotomoy Creek and in the Cold Harbor area. Program offered by the Polegreen Church Foundation.

1:30pm to 2:30pm: Cold Harbor: A Soldier's Perspective

Interactive tour exploring the fighting at Cold Harbor through discussions of the diaries and letters left by participating soldiers

Cannon's Roar – Artillery at Cold Harbor

These demonstration programs offered at several times throughout the afternoon will focus on the use of artillery at Cold Harbor.

Fields of Fire: Infantry Tactics in 1864

These demonstration programs offered at several times throughout the afternoon will focus on infantry tactics at Cold Harbor

2:30pm to 3:30pm: The Military's Use of Music in the Civil War with the Fort McHenry Guard Fife and Drum Corps

This program will explore how music and instrumentation was used by Union and Confederate armies to communicate across the landscape, in the camps and on the field of battle.

3:30pm to 5:00pm; repeats 6:00pm to 7:30pm: "Nothing could equal the horrors of that night's battle" -- Union Breakthrough at Cold Harbor

A ranger-led walking tour exploring the northern end of the Union attack on the evening of June 1, 1864, at the time and in the place where the action occurred. The tour will be offered twice.

3:30pm to 5:00pm; repeats 6:00pm to 7:30pm: "We Cannot Believe That These Sacrifices Have Been in Vain": The Union Attack on June 1

A ranger-led walking tour exploring the southern end of the Union attack on the evening of June 1, 1864, at the time and in the place where the action occurred. The tour will be offered twice.

Tuesday, June 3:

"It Was Simply a Butchery" -- The Attack of the 2nd Corps

An early-morning tour and rare opportunity to explore lands outside of the park boundary where the 2nd Corps attack took place early on June 3, 1864. This tour will repeat later in the morning. Specific tour times and parking information will be posted as details become available.

"The men went down in rows" -- The Attack of the 18th Corps

An early-morning tour and rare opportunity to explore lands outside of the park boundary where the 18th Corps attack took place early on June 3, 1864. This tour will repeat later in the morning. Specific tour times and parking information will be posted as details become available.

An Overview of the Battle of Cold Harbor

Brief walking tours throughout the day will explore the story of Battle of Cold Harbor and its impact on the course of the Civil War.

6:30pm to 8:30pm: Commemorating the Battle of Cold Harbor

An evening ceremonial program will commemorate the Battle of Cold Harbor and will feature remarks by Dr. James I. "Bud" Robertson, Jr., noted Civil War scholar and author, and Alumni Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Virginia Tech.

Saturday, June 7:

1:30pm to 3:00pm: Misery in the Trenches: The Soldiers' Ordeal at Cold Harbor

This ranger-led tour will explore the soldiers' experiences of living, fighting, and dying in the trenches during the two weeks that the armies were at Cold Harbor.

3:30pm to 4:45pm: Aftermath of Cold Harbor

Ranger-led program looking at aftermath of Cold Harbor, the stories of the men who fought, died, and were buried at Cold Harbor and ultimately at national and southern cemeteries.

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