Voices from the Past
Go beyond the names and legends of the Region’s battle sites. Learn how the people of the Richmond Region struggled and sacrificed during the Civil War. Visit our museums and historical sites to learn about the personal stories of the men, women, soldiers and slaves who lived through America’s most dire conflict. Experience the slave trail along the banks of the James River where African Americans walked as they entered the city. Follow the route Abraham Lincoln walked as he entered the city and was greeted by thousands of newly freed slaves just days before his death.
Itinerary 1: Richmond Evacuation and Fire
As Richmonders evacuated their homes and the Capital of the Confederacy in April 1865, they set fire to several warehouses rather than have the goods fall into Union hands. The fire spread out of control, a mob formed and looting and fire spread. Travel through this devastating time in Richmond’s history. Be sure to visit the James River on Brown’s overlook devoted to the 1865 fall of Richmond.
Itinerary 2: Civil War Hospitals and Cemeteries
Treating and caring for the Civil War wounded and mortalities was an enormous challenge and undertaking that changed the lives of Richmonders. Visit Chimborazo Museum, the site of the Civil War’s largest medical facilities. Stand at the former location of the woman-led most successful hospital in Richmond.
Itinerary 3: Surviving the Siege
Experience the siege of Petersburg through the eyes of those that lived it. Visit historic homes and museums where you can relive history through the writings and artifacts that have been preserved for over 150 years and hear the story from the perspective of Union and Confederate soldiers as well as civilians.
Itinerary 4: Prisoners and Spies
Stand on Belle Isle in the James River where the Belle Isle Prison incarcerated nearly 100,000 enlisted men. Visit the site of Libby Prison and the former home of Elizabeth Van Lew, famous Union Spy.
Itinerary 5: From Slavery to Freedom
Visits the sites that tell the stories of enslaved Africans who were bought and sold on the river. The Richmond Slave Trail beings on the south side of the James River at Ancarrow’s Landing and ends a little more than three miles later at the First African Baptist Church near Main and 15th streets.
Itinerary 6: Confederate Commanders (Lee & Davis)
Visit the sites that tell the stories of two leaders of the Confederacy, Robert E. Lee and President Jefferson Davis. Travel down Richmond’s beautiful Monument Avenue to view the statues that memorialize these leaders.