Harris, Public Information Officer, 804-365-6402
Park Service to Hold Special Events at Hanover's Civil War Battlefields
Hanover County has as many Civil War battlefields as just about anybody, which means those who are interested in that part of our nation's history will have lots to see here over the next four years of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and Emancipation, otherwise known as the "Sesquicentennial".
Richmond National Battlefield Park, which maintains five Civil War sites in Hanover County, will hold two "History at Sunset" events in Hanover in July.
On Saturday, July 2, at 7 p.m., Park Rangers will hold a History at Sunset program at the Gaines' Mill Battlefield. The event will include a walking tour of the battlefield, focusing on the War's impact on Hanover County civilians.
It was at Gaines' Mill that Confederate General Robert E. Lee achieved his first victory as commander of the Army of Northern Virginia. At the conclusion of what is known in history as the 'Seven Days' Battles', the Union Army withdrew from the Richmond area.
The Gaines' Mill Battlefield is located at 6283 Watt House Road, six miles east of Mechanicsville, off Rt. 156 (Cold Harbor Road).
On Saturday, July 23, also at 7 p.m., there will be a History at Sunset walking tour of the Totopotomoy Creek Battlefield. This unique event will focus on the archaeological discoveries recently made at the historic home of Rural Plains, which the Park Service is rehabilitating so that the site can be opened year-round.
The battle of Totopotomoy Creek was part of Union Army Commander U.S. Grant's Overland Campaign to defeat Lee in the spring of 1864. On May 30 and 31, 1864, Union infantry launched repeated assaults in a failed attempt to break the Confederate lines. The armies then moved on to Cold Harbor, where Grant's army was repulsed with terrible losses a few days later.
Rural Plains was built around 1725 and was the site of the marriage of Patrick Henry and Sarah Shelton in 1754. Home to eight generations of the Shelton family, the house stood at the vortex of the battle of Totopotomoy Creek and served as the headquarters for Union General Winfield Scott Hancock during the battle.
On September 10 and 11, the Park Service will open Rural Plains for a Living History program.
For more information about these events, call Ed Sanders at (804) 226-1981 or e-mail Ed_Sanders@nps.gov.