In 1864, the eyes of the world returned to central Virginia as it once again became the decisive battleground of the Civil War. As we embark on this last full year of the sesquicentennial, it is remarkable to ponder that once the armies arrived on Richmond's doorstep in May 1864, they were here until the end of the war. The outcome was far from certain – for the future of the Union, the Confederacy, and four million African Americans.
From May through June, to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Overland Campaign, three national parks – Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park, Richmond National Battlefield Park, and Petersburg National Battlefield – are working jointly and individually, and with our partners, to plan a wide range of programs designed to do justice to the people and places connected with the Overland story.
From June through September, Richmond NBP and Petersburg NB will coordinate programs to explore the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign, including the battles of Fort Harrison and New Market Heights.
Beyond those combined undertakings, each park will honor the events individually, with a mixture of scholarly presentations, bus tours, walking tours, education programs, living history demonstrations, and a variety of other anniversary-themed offerings. For battlefield enthusiasts, the opportunity to take "real time" tours, on the actual ground at the precise time of the anniversary, is a special privilege—a modern way of saluting the men who fought there so long ago. Park partners will also be offering a variety of programs throughout the area.
Join us as we explore the complex dimensions of the war's fourth year.