Richmond at War:1863 - Special Program Weekend

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Join Richmond National Battlefield Park and the American Civil War Center as we explore Richmond in 1863 with a weekend full of ranger-led tours, museum tours, demonstrations, and a marrated, multimedia presentation.

Download the schedule of events (pdf)


Friday, July 19

Voices from the Storm: Richmond 1863
Historic Tredegar, 470 Tredegar Street

As Richmonders in 1863 followed news of victories and defeats at battlefields elsewhere, they struggled with challenges of overcrowded lodgings, prisons, and hospitals, food shortages, tragic industrial accidents, and reactions to Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and what it could mean—if anything—to the city's enslaved population. Join us as we explore these stories in a narrated multimedia presentation featuring the words of historical figures who experienced them first-hand.

Saturday, July 20

Soldiers' Misery: Prison Life in Wartime Richmond
Meet at site of Libby Prison, 20th & E. Cary St.

By 1863, large numbers of Federal prisoners of war—mostly Union officers—were held in the military prisons of Richmond. As they endured their confinement, the Confederate military prison staff struggled to care for them in the midst of the shortages affecting the South's entire economy. Join a Park Ranger for this exploration of the Richmond military prison community's efforts to "sit out the War" as the conflict continued into an uncertain future. This program involves an easy walk of approximately one-half mile.


Angels on the Battlefield (gallery tour)
American Civil War Center, 490 Tredegar St.

The war saw nursing go from an all male profession to one populated by ladies determined to show their patriotism and aid the thousands of wounded soldiers. Join a costumed interpreter for this family friendly gallery tour and examine the accomplishments of women in nursing and medicine during the American Civil War.

A Prisoner's Life on Belle Isle (ranger-led tour)
National Park Visitor Center, 470 Tredegar St.

Between 1861 and 1865 the Confederate military established two of the South's more notable prisons here in Richmond. While Libby's housed hundreds of Union officers, enlisted men ended up huddled together on the tip of the "beautiful island" in the middle of the James. Exposure, filth, fear, and unending hunger were just some of the everyday conditions suffered by all prisoners during the war. This ranger-led tour will explore the stories of these forgotten casualties and the uncertain fate that awaited thousands of Union prisoners sent to Belle Isle.

From Foundry to Fire! (demonstration)
2:00 pm
Upper parcel, American Civil War Center, 490 Tredegar St.

The cannon manufacturing capabilities of Tredegar Iron Works were vital to the Confederate war effort. In this exciting program a costumed artillery crew will explain the process of making and testing cannon, the strategic importance of artillery and conclude with a bang!

Sunday, July 21

"A Great Calamity" - The Tragedy at Brown's Island
Meet at National Park Service Visitor Center, 470 Tredegar St.

At the C.S. Laboratory on Brown's Island near Tredegar, mostly young women and girls did the dangerous work of producing the materiel of war. On Friday, March 13, 1863, one of the war's most tragic homefront disasters took place when an explosion ripped through the facility, killing more than 45 workers, the youngest of whom was only 9 years old. This tour will explore Brown's Island and this heart-breaking story.

A Woman's War (gallery tour)
Inside the American Civil War Center, 490 Tredegar St.

From nurses, workers and spies, these remarkable women not only maintained the home front, they were instrumental in what happened on the battlefront! A costumed interpreter will lead this family friendly gallery tour that explores the roles women played during the American Civil War.

"Blood or Bread!" - Richmond Bread Riots
Meet at Washington Statue, Capitol Square, Virginia State Capitol

The cry of "Blood or Bread!" echoed through the streets of the capital as a mob, led by angry women, broke into stores and warehouses. The Richmond Bread Riot took place on April 2, 1863. Join park rangers as we explore its causes, walk the route, and discuss its effects. The walking tour covers two miles and will last two hours. Expect uneven surfaces, and limited seating is available along the route. Meet at the Washington Monument on Capitol Square.

Historic image of Richmond

Last updated: June 27, 2013

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3215 E. Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23223


(804) 226-1981

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