Ed Bearss’ Essential Civil War Stop 13: Grant’s Overland Campaign

Monday,  June 14th, 2004:  5-6 PM  Check In and Welcome, Holiday Inn Select by Len Riedel

6 PM  Icebreaker Dinner at Holiday Inn Select

7 PM:  Grant Versus Lee, The Inevitable Collision that Had to Be” Speaker to be announced. 

Tuesday,  June 15th, 2004:  8 AM:  Depart the hotel.  You won’t believe what we will cover in 4 days—Ed has planned over 40 stops.  Today we will cover the Wilderness battles of May 5 & 6.  Starting from Germanna Ford, we will go on to Saunder’s Field scene of the first fighting and progress back and forth to capture the drama and uncertainty of the two days of fighting.  Of course the Wilderness is any thing but that today.   Only glimpses here and there of the terrible second growth timber that made it nearly impossible to support attacks or even maintain a sense of discipline.  At the end of the day we will do John Gordon’s attack and you will see what the Wilderness was all about.  Lunch and snacks provided.  Hotel by 6 PM.

Wednesday, June 16th, 2004:  8 AM  Depart the hotel en route to the critical crossroads of Spotsylvania Court House--here we will consider what made the point so important and why Lee concluded this was Grant’s objective.  From there we will move along the Confederate line of advance to the sleepy crossroads of Todd’s Tavern.  Here the campaign could have been won, instead the confusing operations around the site slowed the Federal infantry advance.  We will then move along the Federal advance to the Alsop House and into Spindle Field in front of Laurel Hill. After discussing General Sedgwick’s perspective on Confederate marksmanship, we will cover Emory Upton’s assault of May 10th and the titanic 20 hour struggle for the Bloody Angle on May 12th.  We will also do Burnside’s May 12th attack, the fighting at Harris farm on the 18th and Ewell’s attack on the 19th.  The day will finish at the Spotsylvania Confederate Cemetary.  Lunch and snacks provided.  Hotel by 6 PM..

Thursday, June 17th, 2004:  8 AM  Depart the hotel en route for the North Anna River.  This movement by Grant continued a trend to “Fight it out on this line even if it took all summer.”  We will alternatively follow Federal and Confederate routes of march stopping at Massapponax Church and then follow Grant’s use of  Hancock’s corps as bait to try and get the Confederates to fight in the open at either Guiney Station or Bowling Green.  After moving beyond Mt. Carmel Church, we will fight at Hennigan’s Redoubt and move on to Ox Ford, Hanover Junction, the Union crossing of the Pamunkey at Nelson’s Bridge.  We end with the battle of Haw’s Shop.  Lunch and snacks provided.  Hotel by 6 PM for our banquet at 7:30 PM.  Bring a coat and tie or lady’s equivalent for a special event.

Friday, June 18th, 2004: Ed thinks the day is a wasting if you aren’t on the road early.  Our 8 AM departure is  pretty late for the early rising  Bearss.  Today we will allow a half day to finish the fighting at Cold Harbor.  We will move with both armies to the field and look at several sets of earthworks that very few people know about.  The fighting was brutal and Ed will describe it in terms that you will need the ride home to absorb—it was horrific!  We will provide snacks but no lunch as you will be on your way home by 2 PM.  This program is one of the more important in the series and identified Fredericksburg as the only city in the series to merit two visits.  Thanks for coming.

The Faculty:  Ed Bearss:  is a retired Chief Historian Emeritus of the National Park Service.  Perhaps the most famous tour leader in the country, Bearss serves on the National Advisory Board of the BGES.

Gordon Rhea, a practicing attorney, has agreed to be the support historian for this program; however, he cannot confirm dates until he has his court schedule.  In the event he is unable to be here or can only support part of the program we will add other first rate historians of the campaign.  They will be announced as soon as they are known.


Meeting Site and Hotel:  This program will be held at the Holiday Inn Select, 2801 Plank Road Fredericksburg, VA (1-800-Holiday).  Ask for the BGES rate of $89 plus tax.  The Holiday Inn is conveniently located at exit 130 towards Culpeper.  It is at Central Park.  Recently it underwent a multi-million dollar reservation to become the finest hotel in the area.  We have reserved a block of 25 rooms in the Blue and Gray Education Society’s name.  That rate and block are good until May 29th.  You are within walking distance of outstanding dining facilities and upscale shopping. 


Airport and Transportation Information:  Fredericksburg is hard to access if you are flying  to the event.  Individuals flying to the area use Washington Reagan (DCA), Dulles (IAD), Baltimore (BWI) and Richmond (RIC)--none are particularly easy to get from or to.  Of the lot, only DCA has train service to Fredericksburg.  For ease of transport, you might consider renting a car.  Interstate 95 is the best way to get to Fredericksburg.


Key Publications and Recommended Readings

Shipping and handling for the first book is $5 and $3 for each additional volume

____ Gordon Rhea:  The Battle of the Wilderness May 5-6, 1864.    $35

____ Gordon Rhea: The Battles for Spotsylvania Courthouse and the Road to Yellow Tavern May 7th-12th $35

____ Gordon Rhea.:  To the North Anna River, Grant and Lee May 13-25, 1864  $35

____ Gordon Rhea:  Cold Harbor:  Grant and Lee May 26-June 3, 1864  $35

____  Sure I want to save $29, send me all 4 books for just $125 with shipping included.

Virginia residents at 4.5% tax ($1.57 per book or $4.95 for the set)


Ed Bearss Essential Civil War Stop 13:  Grant’s Overland Campaign Registration Form:


Name (s): _______________________________  _________________________________


Address/City/State Zip:______________________________________________________


Phone: ______________________  E-mail: __________________________________

______  Registration  $625*    _____  BGES Member $575*  Please keep in mind this program is Monday evening until Friday afternoon at ~ 2 PM.  We need a bus for 4 days vice the normal 3.

                  *$75 is placed in the BGES’ BEARSS Fund and is deductible

_____   Deposit only—per person  $100  Net Due on or before June 14th, 2004

_____  BGES Division Level Donor ($600 annually or higher)  $525 

I’d like a Bearss Season Ticket for Atlanta, Grant’s Overland, Red River and Tennessee

_____    Nonmember#: $ 2,200 (save $150)   _____ BGES Member# $1,900  (save $275)

# Season ticket holders will have priority for an Ed Bearss Premier Program:  The James Taylor Sketch Book, May 10-13, 2004, at the following rates Nonmembers: $525 (save $50) BGES Members: $475 (save $50)

_____  I’ve enclosed $_______ for my books as checked above.

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