Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Marking the Events of 1862

Civil War battles within earshot of Richmond 150 years ago changed the course of the war and its ultimate aim over the course of 60 days. Commemoration of that campaign this spring will begin on May 9 and run through July and will stretch from Chesterfield to Hanover counties and include participants ranging from the United States Marines and balloonists to scholars of the Civil War and emancipation.  "We're going to try . . . to finally put some sort of boldness to what this period between May and July 1862 meant to the history of the nation," David Ruth, superintendent of Richmond National Battlefield Park and the Maggie L. Walker Historic Site said.

In the Spring of 1862, federal forces attempted two approaches to Richmond. First, the ironclads USS Monitor and USS Galena came up the James River with three other ships in May, hoping that Richmond could be forced to surrender. At Drewry's Bluff in Chesterfield County, obstructions in the narrow river channel blocked the Union's progress on May 15, and Confederate artillery blasted the Union gunboats for more than three hours.  The first Medal of Honor for a Marine was earned during the battle on the Galena.  Confederate defenses held, and the Union never tried another naval attack on Richmond. Living History Weekend at Drewry's Bluff will occur on May 12-13, and will include the unveiling of an interpretive sign commemorating the last battle of the Monitor, a Marine Corps Historical Company tent, artillery demonstrations, walking tours, and a concert by the Quantico Marine Band.

In the Seven Days Battles from June 26 to July 1, Gen. Robert E. Lee went on the offensive and chased Union Gen. George McClellan from Mechanicsville to Malvern Hill, near the James River, which McClellan used to retreat to Berkeley and Westover plantations. Richmond was then safe from Union attack for two more years. Events commemorating those battles will occur at various sites from June 19 to July 11. For further information and a list of events, go to www.nps.gov/rich.

Maury Place at Monument is offering a Civil War special to guests visiting the many Civil War Attractions in Richmond.

Mac Pence and Jeff Wells
your Richmond Virginia Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers at Maury Place at Monument