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Fall Engagement






Field Trip Information

The first clash between Grant and Lee and the first major battle for their armies after Gettysburg began 11 months of nearly continuous combat that will decide the war in Virginia.  Grant told Meade, “Lee’s army will be your objective. Where Lee goes, there you will go also.”  The first collision was in the Wilderness, May 5-6, 1864.  For two days the armies grappled in the dense thickets and tangled undergrowth.  The fighting ended in a ghastly, fiery stalemate.  Unlike his predecessors, Grant ignored them, heading south to follow Lee toward the ultimate goal of Richmond. Grant’s soldiers cheered.  They knew there was no turning back as had happened with previous commanders.


To those who were there, the tumultuous Battle of Spotsylvania Court House May 8 – 21, 1764, embodied all the horrors of civil war.  Both armies raced toward the vital crossroads at Spotsylvania which controlled the most direct route to Richmond.  Lee arrived first on May 8th and narrowly beat back Union attackers.  The Confederates built a bulging line at the Mule Shoe salient.  Union attacks test the Confederate line for several days.  On May 12, Grant struck the tip of the Mule Shoe and broke through.  Lee’s Confederates counterattacked and for the next 22 hours the two sides locked in the war’s most intense hand-to-hand combat.  So concentrated was the firing that bullets cut down a large oak tree, leaving only a stump.  This desperate fighting raged over a bend in the Confederate trenches called the Bloody Angle.  Lee bought enough time to build a new line of earth-works, which he held until Grant abandoned the field May 21.

At Spotsylvania, Grant sought a decisive battlefield victory, but Lee skillfully denied him. Still the Federals constant hammering took its toll on dwindling Confederate resources.  What began in the Wilderness and Spotsylvania continued on the North Anna River, Cold Harbor, Richmond, Petersburg, and finally, Appomattox Court House.

Sights we will see:  Spotsylvania Battlefield Exhibit Shelter, Upton’s Road, Bloody Angle, Hancock Road, Harrison House, McCoull House Site, the Salient, Heth’s Salient, Spotsylvania Confederate Cemetery and Massaponax Church.


Our guide: Frank O’Reilly, NPS, historian, speaker and author. A graduate of Washington & Lee, Frank has been with the NPS for 27 years, in Philadelphia and Fredericksburg where he is the historical consultant for the city.  He is a celebrated  author and has written articles in a vast number of publications. He has appear in television documentaries and is an acknowledged speaker to audiences around the world.

The price of the field trip is $95.  This includes round-trip deluxe motor-coach transportation from Hummelstown, Lower Dauphin High School, at 5:30 a.m., and the Camp Hill Radisson, at 6:00 a.m., driver-tip, admission fees and guide.  A box lunch is included. Dinner will be on your own at a restaurant on the return trip.

Registration Information

To register, complete the form below and mail it to Sheldon Munn, Harrisburg CWRT Field Trip, 1483 Maplewood Drive, New Cumberland, PA 17070.  Your $25 deposit will hold your seat, with the balance due by October 1, 2014.  Cancellations received before Oct 1, 2014 will receive a full refund. Cancellations after Oct 1, will receive refund ONLY if the open seat has been filled by another person. Check payable to HBG CWRT. Questions/information to Sheldon Munn 717.770.0235 or email:


Fall Registration Form and Trip Information




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