Civil War History Comes Alive at Cold Harbor

Living history demonstrators firing a cannon

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News Release Date: May 20, 2017

Contact: Andrea DeKoter, 804-226- 5023

Richmond National Battlefield Park to Host Living History Weekend

RICHMOND, Va.—Over two weeks in the spring of 1864, Confederate and Union forces engaged in one of the largest battles of the Civil War 10 miles outside Richmond at a rural crossroads known as Cold Harbor. On Saturday, June 3 and Sunday, June 4, Richmond National Battlefield Park invites the public to experience the story of that epic battle that resulted in over 18,000 casualties and led one Confederate general to lament, “It was not war; it was murder.”

Throughout the weekend, park rangers and living history volunteers will offer a variety of free programs at Cold Harbor battlefield, including an interactive mobile education trailer and scavenger hunt for kids, the park’s signature candlelight program on Saturday night, a concert by Southern Horizon, ranger-led tours and artillery demonstrations, and speakers and book signings. All events begin at the Cold Harbor Battlefield Visitor Center, 5515 Anderson Wright Drive, Mechanicsville, VA, 23111.

During the day on Saturday and Sunday, children are invited to complete a scavenger hunt worksheet, available at the visitor center, and receive a Junior Ranger patch. From 6-9:30 p.m. on Saturday, kids can visit the mobile education trailer, a special interactive exhibit designed in conjunction with Petersburg National Battlefield, where they can explore hands-on displays about the Battles of Cold Harbor and Petersburg.

Starting at 7:30 pm on Saturday, visitors can pick up free tickets for the evening candlelight tours, which begin at 8:00 pm. Also starting at 8:00 pm, visitors can enjoy the Civil War-era harmonies of the band Southern Horizon. Tickets for the tours are free and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Visitors are advised to wear weather-appropriate clothing and comfortable shoes for walking and to bring flashlights.

Park Rangers will offer guided, one-hour tours of the Cold Harbor battlefield on Saturday at 10 am, Noon, and 4 pm, and on Sunday at 10 am, Noon, and 3 pm. Programs will cover a variety of topics, including the fighting on June 3, 1864, the fate of the 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery, and Ulysses S. Grant’s critical decisions during the battle. Cannon and rifle demonstrations will take place Saturday at 11 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm and Sunday at 11 am and 1 pm.

On Sunday at 2 pm Daniel Davis, author of the book Hurricane from the Heavens: The Battle of Cold Harbor, May 26-June 5, 1864, will talk about the role of the cavalry at Cold Harbor and hold a book signing.
Chris Mackowski, author of Strike Them a Blow: Battle Along the North Anna River, May 21-25, 1864, will speak at 2:30 and also be available afterward to sign books.

“We invite everyone to join us in reflecting on the sacrifices made on the battlefields and the work that has been done to preserve this special place,” said Richmond National Battlefield Park Superintendent David Ruth.

For more information, please contact the Richmond National Battlefield Park at (804) 226-1981, or visit us online at

About Richmond National Battlefield Park
Cold Harbor is one of 13 Civil War sites protected by Richmond National Battlefield Park in Hanover, Henrico and Chesterfield counties. Experiencing the park’s 13 battlefield sites and five visitor centers usually takes a full day. A driving tour of the battlefields is available at any of the park’s sites. 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.

Last updated: May 22, 2017

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Mailing Address:

3215 E. Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23223


(804) 226-1981

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