Summer days can be pretty warm in many parks, so the staff at Richmond National Battlefield Park has come up with a nice option: a series of evening guided walks and programs held every Saturday during the month of July.
The chance to experience “History at Sunset” will be offered at 7 p.m. on Saturdays in July at several locations in the park, and the July 31 program even includes the chance for a guided bike ride. Here are the topics and locations for each event:
July 10 – Fort Brady: A Photographic Tour. Fort Brady was built by Union engineers in late 1864 to protect the Union headquarters and supply depot at City Point, and was photographed extensively by northern photographers in 1865. Join a Park Ranger for a look at this well-preserved fortification, then and now. Meet at the Fort Brady parking area (9960 Hoke Brady Road).
July 17 – Cold Harbor: A Fortnight of Misery. Though the assaults at Cold Harbor ended on June 3, 1864, the armies continued to face each other until the Union army departed on June 12. Learn what happened between and behind the lines during those nine days. Meet at the Cold Harbor Visitor Center (5515 Anderson-Wright Drive).
July 24 – Cold Harbor: Triumph at Twilight. Join a Park Ranger for a tour of the site of late afternoon fighting on June 1, 1864, at Cold Harbor and learn about how close the Union army came to breaking the Confederate lines. Meet at the Hanover County Cold Harbor Battlefield Park (6005 Cold Harbor Road in Mechanicsville).
July 31 – Fort Harrison: Bike Tour. Join a Park Ranger for a leisurely (and level) ride from Fort Harrison to Fort Gilmer and back and learn how close the Union army came to capturing Richmond in September 1864. Meet at Fort Harrison Visitor Center (8621 Battlefield Park Road).
Richmond National Battlefield Park is located in central Virginia about 100 miles south of Washington D.C. The park encompasses a large area with battlefield sites and visitor centers located in the City of Richmond and in Henrico, Hanover and Chesterfield counties. The park preserves more than 1900 acres of Civil War resources in 13 units, including the main visitor center at the famous Tredegar Iron Works and the Chimborazo Medical Museum, on the site of Chimborazo Hospital.
Many Civil War parks were established to tell the story of a key battle, but Richmond's story covers a lot more history. The park's story and resources include "a naval battle, a key industrial complex, the Confederacy's largest hospital, dozens of miles of elaborate original fortifications, and the evocative spots where determined soldiers stood paces apart and fought with rifles, reaping a staggering human cost."
The park commemorates four major actions of the U.S. Civil War: the 1862 Seven Days Campaign, June 26 – July 1, 1862; a portion of the 1864 Overland Campaign, May 28 – June 13, 1864; the May 15, 1862, naval action at Drewry’s Bluff; and actions along the Richmond-Petersburg front, September 29, 1864 -April 2, 1865.
You'll find additional information to help you plan a visit on the park website; if you need specific details about the upcoming programs, you can phone 804-226-1981. Social media fans can also get updates about park programs and events on Facebook (Richmond National Battlefield Park) and Twitter (RichmondNPS).