Alumni, non-delegate actives and guests who will not be participating in the business and educational sessions during the daytime hours may want to make one or more day trips in addition to exploring all that the CW Historic Area has to offer. Given its location, there are many possibilities in the CW region for such excursions. Here are descriptions for several of them.
Civil War Battlefield Parks
Both the Peninsula where CW is located and the Richmond-Petersburg area were sites of major battles which were decisive both early in the War Between the States and near its end.
The Seven Days’ Battles
The historic Seven Days’ Battles in 1862, during which General Robert E. Lee was placed in command of what he renamed the Army of Northern Virginia, took place at sites which are now part of the Richmond Battlefield National Park. Though not victories for Lee and his army in a tactical sense, an increasingly reluctant Union General George McClellan continually moved his Army of the Potomac away from Richmond, back down the Peninsula and finally onto the ships which took them back north. Various battlefields are less than an hour away from CW going west on I-64.
Battle of Cold Harbor
In 1864, the war had turned decidedly against Lee and his Army. Union General Ulysses S. Grant directed the advance of the Army of the Potomac as he and Lee fought and maneuvered from The Wilderness west of Fredericksburg southward toward Richmond. The Battle of Cold Harbor in early June 1864 (along the northern edge of the location of the Seven Days’ sites) was an especially bloody defeat for Grant’s army. The result changed his objective once a frontal assault on Richmond was no longer feasible.
Siege of Petersburg
So, Grant moved south of Richmond about 25 miles to the major road and railway center of Petersburg and began the longest siege of the Civil War. For just over nine months, Lee and Grant poked and prodded the other’s army. Finally, in late March 1865, Grant got the upper hand and forced Lee to take his army west quickly to avoid encirclement.
Appomattox Court House
To reach Appomattox Court House where Lee surrendered to Grant on April 9, 1865 will require driving about 2.5 to 3 hours to the west of CW.
James River Plantation Homes
Some of the 18th century plantation homes along the James River west of CW have been restored and are open to the public. The drive will require using VA Rte 5, given how close the mansions were built to the James River, which was the “highway” of its day. Each of the open locations is within an hour’s drive of CW, depending on where you want to go first. The others are then closer.
Homes of three Presidents and of Governor Patrick Henry
The historic homes of America’s third, fourth and fifth Presidents are worth the two-hour drive from CW to begin a day of touring these historic sites. Driving west on I-64 from CW around Richmond and on toward Charlottesville will bring you to Thomas Jefferson’s incredible Monticello. Just minutes south of Monticello is Ashlawn Highland, which was the home of John Monroe. About 30 minutes north off Route 29 is Montpelier, the recently restored home of James Madison where some say the idea for the structure of the federal government which emerged in the U. S. Constitution was first conceived by Madison.
Monticello (Thomas Jefferson’s home)
Montpelier (James Madison’s home)
Ashlawn-Highland (James Monroe’s home)
Scotchtown (Patrick Henry’s home) is not always open. About two hours from CW.
Atlantic Ocean Beaches in Virginia Beach
For a day at the beach during your vacation, you need only drive east on I-64 about an hour (if you avoid morning and evening rush traffic from the Navy bases) to the beach and boardwalk in Virginia Beach. There are both municipal and pay-for parking garages near the beach. The boardwalk offers many eating and entertainment options in addition the long beach itself.