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Sharon Murray

Partnership with Stephen Ambrose Tours

The American Battlefield Trust is proud to partner with Stephen Ambrose Historical Tours to offer our members a tour package discount through one of the most respected tour providers in the field. 

As part of your membership benefit, American Battlefield Trust members will receive a 10 percent discount when booking tours. For more dates and pricing information, or to book your next Civil War vacation call 888-903-3329 or visit www.stephenambrosehistoricaltours.com/abt.

Check back for more tour offerings!

Two Tours: The Mississippi River Campaign Tour and 'This Hallowed Ground' Tour

Information for the Mississippi River Campaign Tour can be found here. Information for This Hallowed Ground Tour can be found here.

Mississippi River Campaign

Tour Dates

  • October 17 - 25, 2020 Sold Out!
  • ABT Partnership Tour: November 7 - 15, 2020
  • October 16 - 24, 2021
  • Book Your Tour Here!

Day-By-Day Itinerary 

DAY 1: Memphis

The Group will meet at the hotel where we will have a reception and an overview of the tour.

DAY 2: Corinth

We will start with a brief visit to a site on the Mississippi River at Confederate Park in the city of Memphis. A naval battle fought here on June 6, 1862, resulted in a crushing defeat for the Confederates. Shiloh National Military Park is the next stop. One of the most beautifully preserved Civil War battlefields, it still echoes the two day bloody battle that finally ended with a Confederate withdrawal from the field. Following our extensive battlefield tour, we will overnight in Corinth, Mississippi.

DAY 3: Tupelo

In the spring of 1862, Grant's original objective was the vital rail link at Corinth, Mississippi. The railroads that crossed at Corinth connected the Confederacy from the Gulf of Mexico to Kentucky and from the Mississippi River to the Atlantic states.

We begin with a tour of historic Corinth where we can view the antebellum homes that quartered generals from both sides. We will continue to the Civil War Interpretive Center, Crossroads Museum and Corinth Contraband camp.

In the afternoon we will drive to Brice's Crossroads, the site of a clash between Confederate troops under General Nathan Bedford Forrest and Union Cavalry under General Samuel D. Sturgis. Though outnumbered nearly 2-1, Forrest craftily routed the Union forces.

DAY 4: Vicksburg

Drive to Vicksburg to study the battle for control of the Mississippi River the key to the Confederacy.

We will start the study of the battle of Vicksburg near the remote landing site in Bruinsburg. We will explore the very path that Union General U.S. Grant and his troops followed after the key amphibious river crossing in April 1862. Two hundred yards from the spot of Grant's landing, the group will stop to view Windsor Ruins, the magnificent remains of an old plantation home General Grant passed as he sought out Confederate forces. We then visit the battlefield at Port Gibson, a site ten miles from Grant's crossing and the initial engagement of the Vicksburg Campaign.

DAY 5: Vicksburg

Vicksburg National Military Park, the vast, hallowed ground where the maneuvering and struggle for control of the Mississippi could occupy a tour group for several days. Our tour dedicates a day to this landmark battle. We will explore the park and study the battle, as well as the evidence of the grueling siege at this Confederate stronghold. We will finish the day with a visit to the USS Cairo, the Union gunship sunk by a Confederate torpedo (mine) in the Yazoo River.

DAY 6: Natchez

In the morning, we visit the Old Courthouse Museum with its eclectic collection of artifacts from antebellum Vicksburg and the Civil War. We also stop at the riverfront to see the murals that depict local history and line the flood wall.  Afterwards, we proceed south to the city of Natchez, traveling some of the way on the Natchez Trace.  

The Trace was the primary wilderness road of what was then the Old Southwest and today it is a scenic parkway. It provides a glimpse into the past and was the connecting route north from Natchez to Nashville. We begin with a city-tour of Natchez.  Not damaged by the war, it is one of the most well preserved cities of the Old South. We will also visit Longwood Plantation, an excellent example of an antebellum era home. We spend the night in Natchez.

DAY 7: New Orleans

We drive downriver to Port Hudson, Louisiana the Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi. In 1863 Port Hudson was site of a 48 day siege, the longest in American history. The bluffs at Port Hudson were the first high ground upstream from Baton Rouge. The Confederates constructed a line of earthworks and positioned river batteries to defend the river at this point. Port Hudson was just down river from the mouth of the Red River, the artery for supplies from Texas to the rest of the Confederacy. Both sides fought bitterly for this strategic jewel. We will continue south to the great city of New Orleans. We will view the grand neighborhoods of Uptown New Orleans, the Garden District and the home where President Jefferson Davis died.

Farewell Dinner

DAY 8: New Orleans

We will start our day with a short walking tour in the world famous French Quarter, one of the best-preserved neighborhoods in the country. Guests then have the afternoon to explore New Orleans as they please, which could include the Confederate Memorial Hall Museum and the National WWII Museum, located across the street from one another.  If you would like to continue your study of the Civil War, you could arrange a specifically designed walking tour in the French Quarter and/or Metairie Cemetery with Civil War Tours of New Orleans.

DAY 9: New Orleans

Tour ends with check out on Day 9. If you are interested in extra nights post-tour in New Orleans, we are happy to pass along the hotel's group rate to you.

 

This Hallowed Ground

Tour Dates

  • Shenandoah Valley Pre-Tour May 13 - 16, 2020
  • May 16 - 24, 2020
  • Shenandoah Valley Pre-Tour June 17 - 20, 2020
  • June 20 - 28, 2020
  • Shenandoah Valley Pre-Tour September 16 - 19, 2020
  • September 19 - 27, 2020
  • Book Your Tour Here!

Day-By-Day Itinerary 

OPTIONAL PRE-TOUR STONEWALL JACKSON AND THE SHENANDOAH VALLEY

Our Shenandoah Valley Extension tour follows the two great ‘Valley Marshals’: Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson and Philip "Little Phil" Sheridan.  We will explore how these commanders dominated events in the Valley; Jackson in 1861-1862 and Sheridan in 1864.

PRE-TOUR DAY 1: Welcome Reception

Arrive at Dulles airport and take a free shuttle to the tour hotel. First group activity will be a 6 p.m. Welcome Reception followed by dinner.

PRE-TOUR DAY 2: Manassas, the “Stonewall Brigade,” and Jackson’s Valley Campaign

After breakfast, we depart from Dulles for the Manassas Battlefield. Here we learn about the events of the Confederate victory in the first major battle of the Civil War in July 1861 where Thomas Jonathan Jackson earned the sobriquet, “Stonewall.” Jackson’s steadfast position became the rallying point for the Southerners as their lines began to falter.

After a stop for lunch in the town of Strasburg, we drive south to study the battles of Cross Keys and Port Republic. Fought on successive days in July1862, Jackson won victories over Union General John C. Fremont. Fremont had recently taken charge of operations in the Valley after transfer from the western theatre. Spend the night in Lexington, Virginia.

PRE-TOUR DAY 3: VMI at Lexington, Lee Chapel and Grave, The Battle of New Market

This morning we head to the Virginia Military Institute, where Jackson, a professor of physics, also instructed the cadets in artillery and tactics. We walk the Parade Ground from where Stonewall led the cadets to provide security at Harpers Ferry for John Brown’s hanging in 1859 and later serve as military trainers for new army recruits in spring of 1861. We will visit the tomb of Robert E. Lee, who served as President of Washington College after the war, and the Stonewall Jackson grave site.

Leaving Lexington, we proceed up the Shenandoah Valley and stop for a picnic lunch en route to New Market. Although it took place in May 1864, the year after Jackson’s death, it was a situation in which his beloved VMI cadets set out on a forced march to fight side-by-side the Confederate troops where Colonel George S. Patton, Sr. commanded a brigade. After New Market, we settle into our lodging and dinner in Winchester.

PRE-TOUR DAY 4: Phil Sheridan in the Valley, Hallowed Ground Tour Start

In the morning, we take a tour of Kernstown, Jackson’s only setback in his campaign—and the last time he called a war council the night before the battle. Afterwards, we will study the battle of Third Winchester, tour the town and stop for lunch. We then proceed to the Battle of Cedar Creek, which pitted Jubal Early’s Confederates against Phil Sheridan in the culmination of the 1864 Valley Campaign.

90-minute drive back to Dulles airport hotel for rendezvous with the guests for the Hallowed Ground Tour.

DAY 1: Welcome Reception

Schedule your flight to the Washington Dulles International Airport. The group will meet at a nearby hotel where we will have a Welcome Reception at 6 p.m. followed by dinner at 7 p.m.

DAY 2: Manassas: Confederate Victories, Union Disarray

Our program begins with a visit to the battlefield at Manassas. Both the North and South thought that a war would be short. Union leaders believed their greater resources and manpower would prevail while the Confederates doubted northern resolve. The first battle of Manassas (Bull Run) July 21, 1861 saw the proud but green Union Army facing the better led Confederates who won a decisive victory. The Union Army retreated unpursued to Washington. Innocence and illusion were over for both sides. By the time of Second Manassas at the end of August 1862, both armies had gained combat experience, but the result was an even more significant Confederate victory.

DAY 3: Harpers Ferry, Antietam

Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains at the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers, Harpers Ferry is one of the loveliest places in the eastern U.S.

This was the scene of John Brown’s raid in October 1859— a desperate act that hastened the outbreak of war. Brown was hanged for treason on December 2, but the raid hardened radical sentiment for he was seen a martyr in the North and a radical insurrectionist in the South.

The Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg), September 17, 1862, was the bloodiest single day battle in American history with 23,100 men killed or wounded. Although neither side gained a decisive victory, Lee’s withdrawal and failure to carry the war effort effectively into the North caused Great Britain to postpone recognition of the Confederacy. It also gave President Lincoln the opportunity to compose and later issue the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, declaring all slaves free in the states still in rebellion.

DAY 4: Gettysburg: Days One and Two

The Battle of Gettysburg, lasting three days, July 1, 2, and 3, 1863, was the bloodiest battle and the turning point of the Civil War. More than 50,000 Americans of both sides were casualties. Gettysburg was General Lee’s final attempt to carry the war north. Although nearly two years of fierce fighting still lay ahead, after Gettysburg the prospects of a Union victory changed from if to when. We will stand at Little Round Top, where the 20th Maine Regiment, led by Colonel Joshua Chamberlain, repulsed several Confederate assaults and preserved the Union position at Cemetery Ridge. This action was described by author Michael Shaara in his epic narrative The Killer Angels.

DAY 5: Gettysburg: Pickett’s Charge, Lincoln’s Address, The Civilian Experience

Today we walk the field of Pickett’s Charge, perhaps the most famous attack in American history. As noted by historian James McPherson, “Pickett’s Charge represented the Confederate war effort in microcosm: unsurpassed valor, apparent initial success, and ultimate disaster.” Of the 14,000 Confederates who attacked, only about half returned.

Some four months after the battle, President Lincoln came to Gettysburg to deliver one of the greatest speeches in American history. We will visit Shriver House, a museum dedicated to the civilian experience during the struggle. Dinner will be at the Dobbin House, the oldest building in Gettysburg (1797) and a stopping point for escaped slaves on the Underground Railroad.

DAY 6: Fredericksburg–Richmond: The Heroism of Clara Barton–Chancellorsville

This morning we will return south to Virginia and visit Fredericksburg – a region of four major battles: Fredericksburg, December 1862; 
Chancellorsville, May 1863; 
The Wilderness, May 1864; 
Spotsylvania Court House, May 1864. Richmond, the soul and Capital of the Confederacy, was the northern army’s main target. The direct route from Washington to Richmond passes through Fredericksburg. Clara Barton, later to found the American Red Cross, won fame and gratitude for her heroic nursing of the wounded of both sides. We visit Chatham Plantation, where the “holy angel” from Massachusetts worked at her makeshift “hospital.” Barton had already helped the wounded at Antietam and Second Manassas. Later, she would serve at the Wilderness and Spotsylvania and become supervisor of nurses for the Union Army of the James.

Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville were decisive Confederate victories. Wilderness and Spotsylvania were tremendous but tactically inconclusive battles in Grant’s 1864 Overland campaign. After visiting Fredericksburg, we’ll continue to Chancellorsville, where we analyze the battle, see where Stonewall Jackson received his mortal wounds and discuss the aftermath.

DAY 7: Petersburg: The Confederacy and the Antebellum South

By the summer of 1864, the war in Virginia settled into a brutal siege around Richmond and nearby Petersburg that would last until the spring of 1865. We will visit the fascinating National Battlefield at Petersburg, scene of the Battle of the Crater. After walking the ground over which the battle took place, we travel a short way to visit the memorable National Museum of the Civil War Soldier at Pamplin Historical Park. The Museum tells the story of the nearly 3,000,000 Americans — northerners and southerners, whites and blacks, immigrants and native born — who fought in the Civil War. While at the Museum, we will explore Tudor Hall Plantation, which features a working kitchen and slave quarters that present a multi-media exhibit on antebellum slavery and plantation life.

DAY 8: Appomattox

The final campaign began at Petersburg. the longest siege in American history, June 1864—April 1865. The siege was a precursor of the trench warfare of the First World War fifty years later. Only the considerable skill, courage and endurance of Lee’s army kept the Union forces out away from Richmond. But on April 2 the northern army broke through and cut off the Confederate supply lines from the South, forcing Lee to retreat to the west. Grant pursued relentlessly, and virtually surrounded Lee’s army and forced the surrender on April 9 at Appomattox Court House. The United States was reborn. After visiting Appomattox, we will return to our hotel for our farewell dinner.

DAY 9: Transfers to Airports

One morning transfer Dulles Airport. Because Dulles is a two-hour drive from Richmond, you will not be at the Dulles airport until 10 a.m., so book your flight after noon. There will only be one group transfer so if your flight is earlier than noon, your transfer will be on-your-own.