Great Commanders Series: Lee vs. Grant in the Overland Campaign of 1864 June 12-15, 2013

Great Commanders Series: Lee vs. Grant in the Overland Campaign of 1864 June 12-15, 2013

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Wednesday, June 12 (7:30pm)-Saturday, June 15 (5pm)
Fredericksburg, VA
Led by A. Wilson “Will” Greene
Tour Registration: $495.00

LeeVSGrantSpring 1864 found the great armies of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and Union Maj. Gen George G. Meade facing each other along the Rapidan River. But that situation would soon change as a new man from the western theater, Lt. Gen Ulysses S. Grant took command of all Federal armies. Grant would be in the field, not at a desk in Washington; Meade would have to adapt to a new command structure. Grant had set his sights on Lee’s army. He was out to destroy the fabled Army of Northern Virginia and in the course of time capture Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy.

Our tour will focus on the Overland Campaign from April to June 1864 and include all the major engagements and some lesser known ones as well. Our tour leader, Will Greene has previously led two tours for America’s History. He has garnered a reputation for putting all things in perspective: strategy, tactics, command decisions, personalities, human interest stories and “what if” scenarios. His knowledge and sense of humor make him one of the most popular Civil War historians leading tours today.

We’ll start our tour on Thursday at the Wilderness battlefield, where the opening round of a bloody slugfests began. We’ve allotted a full day to understanding what happened at the Wilderness. We’ll stop at Saunders Field where a seesaw fight erupted on May 5. Some of the heaviest combat of the battle occurred in the fields surrounding the Higgerson House. You’ll also see the Chewing Farm which was occupied by both armies during the battle. A highlight of the Wilderness battlefield is the Widow Tapp Farm where Lt. Gen. James Longstreet rescued Lee’s army from disaster. One of the “Lee to the rear” incidents occurred during the Tapp Farm fighting. You’ll also see where Longstreet was wounded by “friendly fire.” And we’ll visit “Ellwood,” an 18th century home that served as headquarters for Maj. Gen. Gouverneur Warren. Spending a day at the Wilderness will give you an appreciation for why it is important to continue the fight to save land on this battlefield.

Friday will be devoted to the battle at Spotsylvania Court House, another bloody conflict as Grant ordered Meade to sidestep Lee in an effort to get around the Confederate general’s right. We’ll make a stop at the site where Maj. Gen John Sedgwick made the Civil War’s most famous understatement before taking a bullet between the eyes. We’ll spend time walking the Bloody Angle or Mule Shoe salient where earthworks still outline the Confederate lines. Another famous Lee incident occurred at the Harrison House site where the anxious general was persuaded by Maj. Gen. John B. Gordon not to lead a counterattack in person. Other sites on the Spotsylvania battlefield will be the McCoull House area, the east face of the Mule Shoe Salient, Heth’s Salient and Spotsylvania Court House itself, the crossroads town Grant targeted in his strategy to flank Lee.

On Saturday, we’ll visit three battlefields where Lee stymied Grant, but only temporarily. The North Anna battlefield is an off-the-beaten track Hanover County park with wonderfully preserved rifle pits and trenches associated with the fight at the North Anna River. Then it’s on to a lesser known Overland campaign site called Totopotomoy Creek battlefield. This site was purchased in 2006 by the Civil War Trust and turned over to the National Park Service. It includes Rural Plains, an 18th century plantation house owned by the Shelton family for six generations. Family legend has it that Patrick Henry married Sarah Shelton in the first floor parlor. This house is not opened to the public but America’s History is making a special request to the Park Service for access during our tour. Our last stop will be the battlefield at Cold Harbor which still contains many of the earthworks thrown up by the opposing armies in June 1864. This will be the place to question whether Grant deserves the sobriquet “Butcher.”

Please wear comfortable walking shoes and appropriate outdoor clothing as we experience one of the most famous and controversial campaigns of the Civil War.

Part of your registration fee will help support the Pamplin Historical Park & The National Museum of the Civil War Soldier near Petersburg, Virginia. PHP receives no government funding, but relies on revenues collected at the Park and from donations to make its quality programming and preservation efforts possible. For more information about PHP, go to

Registration Fee: $495.00

What’s included: motor coach transportation, three lunches, beverage and snack breaks, a map and materials package, all admissions and gratuities, and the services of an experienced tour leader/historian. Our hotel will provide a complimentary breakfast each day. Tour participants are responsible for transportation to the headquarters hotel, and securing a room reservation, if necessary. Dinner is on your own. Tour goes out rain or shine. Please see our policy page for information about cancellations.


We have arranged with the headquarters hotel for a group rate of $89.00 per night plus tax (double or single occupancy.) Please call the Hampton Inn and Suites, 4800 Market Street, Fredericksburg, VA 22408 at 540-898-5000 and ask for the America’s History group rate. This rate will be guaranteed until May 12, so please make your reservations soon.

Our Tour Leader:

A. Wilson Greene is executive director of the Pamplin Historical Park and a very popular leader of Civil War tours. In his early career, Will was a historian at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County Battlefields Military Park. He is the author of more than 20 published works on Civil War military history, including Final Battles of the Petersburg Campaign: Breaking the Backbone of the Rebellion.

Register Online:

Register by phone, e-mail or postal mail:

  • Toll-free: 1-855-OUR-HISTORY (687-4478)
  • Email us at:
  • Postal mail: America’s History LLC, P. O. Box 1076, Goochland, VA 23063

Visa, Master Card and Discover accepted. We take checks too!

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