Follow route of Civil War campaign

By Roger Petterson

Associated Press

Take advantage of this year's observances of the 140th anniversary of a critical phase of the Civil War to plan your vacation around a tour through the countryside of historic central Virginia.

Follow the 1864 Overland Campaign -- -- through central Virginia and organize your travels with the help of Civil War Traveler. They've mapped out a road trip from north to south, from Germanna Crossing to the Petersburg battlefield. There's a link to a detailed map of the campaign, but it is so detailed and big once you enlarge it that you might want to just order the free printed version by mail.

By the way, this is just part of the library of information available from Civil War Traveler. Check their main Web site for Virginia -- -- to follow other campaigns, and check the links for other states.


Several programs are planned for the commemoration by the National Park Service and Orange, Spotsylvania, Hanover, Henrico and Chesterfield counties. Lee vs. Grant -- -- provides a summary with dates, places and Web sites.

Along the northern end of the campaign trail, Orange County -- -- offers the Ellwood Manor plantation, overlooking the Wilderness Battlefield. And while you're there, you can golf, take a tour, go fishing or even visit a winery.

Continue down the road into Spotsylvania County -- -- to explore the Wilderness Battlefield and others in the Fredericksburg &; Spotsylvania National Military Park. The county has several bed &; breakfast inns, and a historical district centered on the prewar courthouse.

Visit the North Anna Battlefield in Hanover County -- -- where more than 150,000 soldiers faced each other in May 1864.

In the Richmond area, the Metropolitan Convention &; Visitors Bureau -- -- has several suggested itineraries listed under "Tour Operators," including one called "Civil War Revisited." Click on "Plan Your Visit" to learn about other things to see and do.

Richmond is almost surrounded by Henrico County -- -- site of major confrontations including the 1864 battle of New Market Heights, where 14 members of what was called the U.S. Colored Troops earned the Medal of Honor.

On the other side of Richmond, Chesterfield County -- -- has more Civil War sites to visit, as well as sites it calls "Nature's Tranquility" along the James River.

After you've visited the Civil War sites, the state's Virginia is for Lovers guide -- -- can show you around to plenty of other places for sightseeing, recreation and relaxation. Check out "Travel Packages &; Discounts" to see if anything fits your plans.

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