Grand Review Tours

Williamsburg, Virginia

American Battlefield Trust Event
October 13 - 15, 2023

Saturday Evening Dinner Banquet 

"Four Individuals and a Surgeon’s Pit: Attempting to Identify Confederate Casualties from the Battle of Williamsburg" with Jack Gary, Director of Archaeology, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

During archaeological investigations of the iconic powder magazine in the center of Colonial Williamsburg, an unexpected discovery was made. Four Confederate soldiers who died in a nearby hospital in 1862 and three amputated legs had been buried near the building. Through intensive archaeological and documentary research it may be possible to identify who these four soldiers were. This talk will explore the different lines of evidence that Colonial Williamsburg’s Department of Archaeology is using to understand the treatment of wounded soldiers in the aftermath of the Battle of Williamsburg and possibly reconnect the names of these four casualties with their remains. Images of human remains will be shown.


Saturday Tours

A Traitor in the Old Dominion: Benedict Arnold in Virginia, January to June 1781

In December 1780, British Commander in Chief Sir Henry Clinton launched an expedition into Virginia. His choice to lead it: former Continental Major General turned traitor Benedict Arnold. Clinton hoped that Arnold would live up to his reputation as George Washington’s best tactical commander but in a different uniform. The hero of Saratoga did not disappoint his new superior. Within a week of his arrival, Arnold captured the new capital at Richmond and destroyed assets valuable to the American cause. After fortifying Portsmouth, Arnold received reinforcements in late March and, although relegated to a subordinate role, continued to wreak havoc throughout the Commonwealth in the months to come. Join Dan Davis, the Trust’s Senior Education Manager, as we explore Benedict Arnold’s operations in Virginia. We will visit Westover Plantation on the James River, historic Richmond, and other sites as we walk in the footsteps of one of the most notorious individuals in U.S. History as we recount a chapter in his life that is overshadowed by other events.

Sites Include: Westover Plantation, Historic Richmond, and more.

Walking Level: Moderate; This tour includes about 1.5 miles of walking on smooth surfaces.

Guide: Daniel Davis, American Battlefield Trust

The Battle of Williamsburg with Drew Gruber

There’s more to Williamsburg than colonial and revolutionary history! Join Drew Gruber, Executive Director of Civil War Trails for a tour of Williamsburg's Civil War sites. You’ll visit sites inaccessible to the general public, including some of the parcels recently preserved by the American Battlefield Trust. The Battle of Williamsburg was fought in a driving rainstorm on May 5th, 1862, resulting in the capture of the first Confederate battle flag and seven Medals of Honor. Many famed commanders experienced their first real taste of action here—Hancock, Longstreet, Hooker, Hill (DH and AP), Kearny—and this battle helped set the tone for soldiers on both sides. From 'machine guns' to heroine soldiers, valiant charges, to tenacious African Americans leading a Union counterattack, this is a tour you won't soon forget.

Sites Include: Williamsburg and American Battlefield Trust Land 

Walking Level: Moderate; Total walking time 1.5 to 2 miles. We will explore most of the day, including hiking on uneven terrain, undergrowth, and more, to ensure we put you in their footsteps. 

Guide: Drew Gruber, Civil War Trails


The Siege of Yorktown: From Despair to a Decisive Victory

In 1781, just outside of New York City, General George Washington found himself in a state of despair, facing the grim possibility of losing the war. However, several months later and 450 miles away in Yorktown, Virginia, a series of events unfolded that redefined the course of world history—the Siege of Yorktown. This tour will examine the events that unfolded before, during, and after the Siege of Yorktown. We will visit the key locations on the battlefield as the story unfolds.  

Sites Include: Yorktown, Redoubts 9 & 10, Surrender Field

Walking Level: Light-Moderate; This tour includes up to 1.5 miles of walking in a museum, town, and battlefield setting. You can expect some uneven ground and sidewalks along the way. 

Guide: Linda Williams, Colonial National Park 


War in Hampton Roads

Take to the waves as you embark on a journey around historic Hampton Roads. The epic clash between the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia on March 9, 1862, forever etched the name Hampton Roads in American and naval history. Climb aboard our tour boat as we explore the famous 1862 battle. You’ll also disembark to visit Fortress Monroe, a critical United States installation on the tip of the Virginia Peninsula. Walk the fort's grounds while learning about the 1862 Peninsula Campaign and the nearby Contraband Camp. Then you’ll make your way to the Mariner’s Museum and the USS Monitor Conservation Center.  

Sites Include: Fortress Monroe, Mariner's Museum and USS Monitor Conservation Center

Walking Level: Light; This tour includes up to 1 mile of walking in and around a historic fort and inside of a museum setting. Expect periods of standing while taking in the museums.

Guide: Mike Cobb, Curator Emeritus of the Hampton History Museum and Fort Wool Historic Site

Richmond’s Bloodiest Battlefields: Gaines’ Mill and Cold Harbor

The land near Gaines’s Mill was twice consecrated by American blood. On June 27, 1862, in what was Gen. Robert E. Lee’s first major battlefield victory, and again from May 31-June 12, 1864, which resulted in another Confederate victory. The two epic clashes of arms produced some 33,000 combined casualties and played host to a charge five times larger than the more famous Pickett’s Charge. Join Richmond National Battlefield Park historian Robert E. L. Krick as he treks the Gaines’s Mill and Cold Harbor Battlefields. This tour will examine the pair of famous battlefields primarily by visiting ground preserved by the American Battlefield Trust.  In the past decade, the Trust has saved roughly 1,000 acres at these sites.  You’ll visit both battlefields, as well as spots where the two battles overlapped on the same acreage.  At least two of the battlefield stops will be entirely new—places no Trust bus tour has ever visited before—opening fresh perspectives made possible by recent preservation triumphs.

Sites Include: Gaines's Mill and Cold Harbor

Walking Level: Heavy; expect to walk 2.5 miles in total, spread across four separate walks.

Guides: Robert E. L. Krick, Richmond National Battlefield Park

Sunday Tours

Civil War Walking Tour of Colonial Williamsburg 

Each year, thousands of visitors visit Colonial Williamsburg to learn about the past and to tread in the footsteps of the Founding Fathers. In the shadow of so many colonial and revolutionary era structures, it’s hard to imagine that this place has strong ties to the Civil War. Join historians Carson Hudson and Drew Gruber as they take you back to an overlooked chapter in Williamsburg’s history—the Civil War era. Walk this hallowed ground while learning more about the people and the stories of a bygone era. 

Sites Include: Colonial Williamsburg

Walking Level: Moderate; this tour includes up to 1.5 miles of walking and standing on mostly level ground.

Guides: Carson Hudson, Author-Historian, and Drew Gruber, Civil War Trails

Walking tour of Historic Yorktown

Celebrate the surrender of Lord Cornwallis and his army 242 years ago with a tour of Main Street in Yorktown Village. Visit nine original buildings that witnessed the 1781 siege of Yorktown, the home of a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and a stop at the location where the Virginia Militia lived and trained from 1776 until the summer of 1781. Follow in the footsteps of the British Redcoats who occupied Yorktown in August 1781. You will be introduced to the commander of the British Southern Army, the Secretary of the Commonwealth, an enslaved spy, and a French Continental General. The tour ends at the Monument of Victory and Alliance which was dedicated 100 years after the surrender in 1881. .

Sites Include: Yorktown Village 

Walking Level: Light; expect walking on paved roads and sidewalks for less than a mile, with stops along the way.

Guide: J. Michael Moore, Author-Historian, and Maureen Weisse, Hampton Roads Tours, LLC

American Revolution Museum at Yorktown

Tour the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, which tells the story of the nation’s founding, from the twilight of the colonial period to the dawn of the Constitution and beyond. Exciting indoor galleries feature period artifacts, immersive environments, and films, including “The Siege of Yorktown,” with a 180-degree surround screen and dramatic special effects. In the outdoor areas, visit a re-created Continental Army encampment to learn about the life of a soldier, and explore a Revolution-era farm, based on a real-life 18th-century family.

Sites Include: American Revolution Museum at Yorktown

Walking Level: Light; less than a half mile of walking in a museum setting. You may stand for extended periods of time.

Guides: Staff of the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown


Walking Tour of Historic Jamestown

Step back in time to some of the earliest British efforts to colonize North America. Jamestown is the site of the first permanent English settlement in North America. There were other European settlements in America before Jamestown, but our language, most of our customs, and laws come from English ancestry. Jamestown is the beginning of America.

Sites Include: Historic Jamestown

Walking Level: Heavy; expect some 2 miles of walking over uneven terrain and along pathways.

Guides: Staff of Preservation Virginia