Central Virginia Civil War – Richmond and Area

Richmond was capital of the Confederate States of America from May 1861 until April 1865. Elements of the major battlefields are maintained by the Richmond National Battlefield Park. Although part of the city burned when it was evacuated in 1865, many sites associated with the Civil War in Richmond survive and are open to the public.

General information about visiting the Richmond metropolitan area is available at the visitor center located at the Richmond Convention Center downtown. Other visitor information centers are located in the Richmond International Airport and the Bass Pro Shops (just off I-95 north of the city). Call 804-783-7450 or 888-RICHMOND.

Richmond National Battlefield Park

Main Visitor Center

• 490 Tredegar St, Richmond VA 23219
• 804-771-2145

The main visitor center, located in one of the buildings of the famous Tredegar Iron Works on the James River, focuses on the history of the city and the Richmond area during the war. Three floors of exhibits, a film, electronic maps of the battlefields and ranger help are highlights. The main visitor center and the Cold Harbor battlefield visitor center are open year-round 9 am–5 pm. Visitor centers at Fort Harrison and Glendale National Cemetery are open seasonally. All is free, except parking at the riverfront visitor center.

Park highlights

Chimborazo Medical Museum

• 3215 E Broad St, Richmond VA 23223

Exhibits and a film, “Under the Yellow Flag,” highlight the medical history of the site, a former Confederate hospital. The exhibit explodes some myths surrounding Civil War medicine. Includes a 12-foot panorama photograph of Richmond taken shortly after the war showing the location of the city’s hospitals. Battlefield information also available. Open 9 am–5 pm. Free.

Chickahominy Bluff

• 4300 Mechanicsville Turnpike, Richmond VA 23223

Remains of earthworks that made up part of Richmond’s outer defense line and the jump-off point for the Seven Days are features in this small park.

Cold Harbor battlefield

Source: caller.com

• 5515 Anderson-Wright Drive, ZIP code 23111

A visitor center is open at this site, famous for the bloody Federal attack at dawn June 3, 1864. A mile-long walking trail winds its way through both the Union and Confederate lines, scene of trench warfare during early June 1864. Electronic map is excellent.

Beaver Dam Creek battlefield, Hanover County

• 7423 Cold Harbor Road, ZIP code 23111

The Seven Days battles opened here just outside Mechanicsville June 26, 1862. Walking trails on both sides of the creek.

Gaines’ Mill battlefield, Hanover County

• 6283 Watt House Road, ZIP code 23111

Fighting here June 27, 1862, resulted in Robert E. Lee’s first victory as commander of the Army of Northern Virginia and was a turning point in the Seven Days battles. Walking trails explore the battlefield.

Glendale battlefield, Henrico County

• 8301 Willis Church Road, ZIP code 23231
• (National Cemetery)

A visitor center open seasonally in the National Cemetery begins a tour of the 1862 Glendale/Malvern Hill battlefields.

Malvern Hill battlefield, Henrico County

• 9175 Willis Church Road, ZIP code 23231

Walking trails explore the stories associated with the July 1, 1862 battle. Great walk of the Confederate attack route to the Union guns posted above them on the slight hill.

Drewry’s Bluff, Chesterfield County

• 7600 Fort Darling Road, ZIP code 23237

Great views of the James River shared by Confederates in May 1862 when they thwarted an advance by Union gunboats (including the famous Monitor). Walking tour through the fort and site of the Confederate Naval Academy.

Fort Harrison, Henrico County

Source: kobo.com

• 8621 Battlefield Park Road, ZIP code 23231

Confederate fortifications guarding Richmond were attacked with some success here in September 1864. This park unit highlights the role of the United States Colored Troops (USCT) in this and other attacks in the neighborhood. Visitor center open seasonally. (See also 1864 Overland Campaign.)

Parker’s Battery

• 1801 Ware Bottom Spring Road, ZIP code 23831

Part of the Confederate “Howlett Line” that “bottled up” Union forces during the Bermuda Hundred Campaign from May 1864 to the end of the war. Short walking trail through the original fortifications.

Totopotomoy Creek and the Shelton House

• Studley Road (Route 606) near Shelton Pointe Drive

Following the battle at the North Anna River, Union commander U.S. Grant sidled east and south once again while Confederates under Robert E. Lee moved north to meet him on high ground above Totopotomoy Creek. Unable to break the Confederate line here, Grant disengaged again and headed for Cold Harbor. A walking trail covers a cross-section of this May 29-31, 1864, battle. The historic Shelton House, Rural Plains, is undergoing restoration.

City of Richmond sites

White House and Museum of the Confederacy

• 1201 E Clay St, Richmond VA 23219
• 804-649-1861

House Stuart’s plumed hat, Armistead’s Gettysburg sword and countless other Civil War icons are exhibited here. Special sections highlight various aspects of soldier and civilian life in the Confederacy. The Confederate “White House,” home to Jefferson Davis and his family during the war, has been restored to its war-time appearance and is open for tours. Open daily 10 am–5 pm. $10/adult (museum only), $18/adult (museum and White House tour).

American Civil War Museum / Historic Tredegar

• 490 Tredegar St, Richmond VA 23219
• 804-780-1865

This eight-acre site on the James River was at the heart of the Confederate manufacturing capacity. Two of the buildings once used by the famous Tredegar Iron Works are restored and open on the site. The “In the Cause of Liberty” exhibit, located in the signature gun foundry building, covers the entire war from causes to consequences. Short films, interactive displays, maps and artifacts examine the perspectives of Union, Confederate and black participants. The exhibit is open 9 am–5 pm daily and costs $10/adult (onsite parking fee reimbursed with paid admission).

Also on the Tredegar site is main Richmond National Battlefield Park visitor center (see listing above). Admission to that building is free, but there is no reimbursement for onsite parking. There is free two-hour parking on Fifth Street and in a lot about a block beyond the Center on Tredegar Street, but availability is limited.

Virginia Historical Society

• 428 N Boulevard, Richmond VA 23220
• 804-358-4901

Housed in what once was called the “Battle Abbey,” the modern Virginia Historical Society features exhibits relating to all of Virginia’s history. Civil War features include the murals “Four Seasons of the Confederacy” and items from the most extensive collection of Confederate-manufactured weapons. The cornerstone exhibit offers a Civil War section. Open 10 am–5 pm daily. Admission free.

Hollywood Cemetery

• 412 S Cherry St, Richmond VA 23220
• 804-648-8501

An estimated 18,000 Confederate soldiers, including Gens. George Pickett and J.E.B. Stuart, are buried here. Jefferson Davis and his family also are here overlooking the James River.

Some of the most spectacular views in Richmond are found in this place, established in the 1840s. Open 8 am–6 pm. Free.

Valentine Richmond History Center

Source: southernspaces.org

• 1015 E Clay St, Richmond VA 23219
• 804-649-0711

A museum dedicated to the history of the city of Richmond. Offers a Civil War section and a new exhibit, “Settlement to Streetcar Suburbs: Richmond and its People.” Open 10 am–5 pm Monday–Saturday; noon–5 pm Sunday. Adults $7.

Monument Avenue

Statues in memory of Confederate leaders Stuart, Davis, Lee, Jackson and Matthew Fontaine Maury grace this grand avenue, which some call the South’s most beautiful.

Confederate Memorial Chapel

• 2900 Grove Ave, Richmond VA 23221
• (behind the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts)

This tiny building was once part of the Confederate old soldiers’ home. Much Confederate memorial material inside. Free admission, video and guided tours. Open Wednesday–Sunday 11 am–3 pm.

Canal Walk

On the James Riverfront across Tredegar Street from the American Civil War Center

“Three Days in April 1865” exhibit located on a pedestrian walkway extending over the river uses quotations and images highlighting the evacuation and Union occupation of Richmond.

Virginia State Capitol

• Entrance 10th and Bank streets, Richmond VA 23219

Main building, inspired by Thomas Jefferson, housed both the Confederate and Virginia legislatures during the war. Surrounding square is full of history with statues, the Governor’s Mansion and the old Bell Tower.

The following Richmond sites are marked with Civil War Trails signs:

Belle Isle

Source: medium.com

Island in the James River served as prison camp for thousands of Union soldiers. Conditions here ranged from bad to horrific. Pedestrian bridge off Tredegar Street leads to the site.

Libby Prison site

• 20th and Cary streets, Richmond VA 23223

Union officers housed in famous and notorious building, no longer standing. Plaques note the site on Richmond’s flood wall.

Rocketts Landing

• 3100 Water St., Richmond VA 23223

Ocean-going ships once docked here just below the James River falls, but commerce effectively was shut off by Union blockade in 1862. The Confederate Navy Yard also operated at the site, turning out ironclad warships.

Oakwood Cemetery Confederate Section

• Trails sign near East Richmond Road and Oakwood Avenue entrance, Richmond VA 23223

The graves of more than 17,000 Confederate soldiers are here. Most of them died in Richmond hospitals including nearby Chimborazo. An estimated 75 soldiers a day, 95 percent of them privates, were buried here in the weeks following the Seven Days Battles.

Shockoe Hill Cemetery

• Trails sign in the cemetery, 300 Bates St, Richmond VA 23219

More than 500 Confederate soldiers are buried here, many dying at General Hospital No. 1, the large brick building still standing across the street. Noted Union spy Elizabeth Van Lew and Chief Justice John Marshall are among the other Richmond notables here.

Jump to Richmond National Battlefield Park | City of Richmond | Hanover | Henrico | Chesterfield | Powhatan | Charles City | New Kent

Hanover County

Source: loc.gov

One of the most fought-over counties in the country. See 1864 Overland Campaign and Richmond National Battlefield Park (above) about visiting the sites at Cold Harbor, Gaines’ Mill, Beaver Dam Creek, Haw’s Shop, North Anna, Ashland and many others.

Hanover CHHanover Tavern

• 13181 Hanover Courthouse Road, ZIP code 23069
• 804-537-5050

Civil War associations vie with Patrick Henry in this historic community north of Richmond. J.E.B. Stuart led his Confederate troopers through here in 1862 during his famed ride around McClellan; the battle of Hanover Court House was fought nearby; and the tavern served as a haven for refugees from Northern Virginia. “Hanover County: Impact of the Civil War” exhibit. Self-guided audio tours Tuesday–Sunday 11 am–4 pm. $7/adult. Civill War Trails interpretation.


• Visitor Center at the Railroad Station
• 112 N Railroad Ave, Ashland VA 23005
• 804-752-6766

Confederates marched silently through here on their way to the battlefields at Totopotomoy Creek and Cold Harbor after fighting at the North Anna River. Trails sign at the Visitor Center in the old railroad station downtown, which is open daily 9 am–5 pm.

Stuart’s Ride: Old Church

• Trails sign at 3263 Old Church Road, Hanover VA 23069

Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart decided to continue east toward the Richmond and York River Railroad after Gen. Fitzhugh Lee scattered a camp full of men he commanded in the “old” army here in June 1862. Stuart’s decision turned a simple cavalry raid into the celebrated “Ride Around McClellan” that raised Confederate spirits in the threatened Confederate capital.

Henrico County

See Overland Campaign, Peninsula Campaign and Richmond National Battlefield Park (above) about visiting battlefields at Seven Pines, Yellow Tavern, Malvern Hill, Fort Harrison and Glendale.

Yellow Tavern

• Telegraph Road between Harmony Road and Towering Road, ZIP code 23059

As the two armies were fighting at Spotsylvania, Union cavalry made a dash for Richmond. J.E.B. Stuart’s Confederate cavalry followed. During the May 11, 1864, battle here, Stuart was mortally wounded. A small memorial park is located where Stuart fell.

Seven Pines

• Trails sign at the Sandston Public Library
• 23 E. Williamsburg Road, ZIP code 23150

A Confederate opportunity to damage McClellan’s army, camped in Richmond’s suburbs, was lost May 31, 1862. See also the Seven Pines National Cemetery just east of here on Williamsburg Road.

Meadow Farm

• 3400 Mountain Road, ZIP code 23060
• 804-672-5520

Civil War civilian life is often depicted at this antebellum farm house and grounds during events and programs. Buildings open March–December Tuesday–Sunday noon–4 pm. Grounds open dawn to dusk daily. Civil War Trails interpretation.

The following Henrico sites are marked with Civil War Trails signs:

Dabbs Hs

Source: dhr.virginia.gov

Dabbs House Museum, the East Henrico Government Center, 3808 Nine Mile Road, Richmond VA 23223 – Exhibits, a short film and a tour highlight this fine museum outlining the history of this historic property. The home’s Civil War connection is highlighted. Robert E. Lee made this house his first headquarters after taking over command of the Army of Northern Virginia on June 1, 1862. Special attention is given to the meeting here June 23, 1862, when Lee, A.P. Hill, Stonewall Jackson and D.H. Hill planned the Confederate offensive that became known as the Seven Days Battles. Information about other county Civil War sites also is offered. Tours of the restored Civil War-era parts of the house are available.

Museum is open 9 am–5 pm Wednesday–Sunday and by appointment. It’s free. 804-652-3406. Civil War Trails sign.

Deep Bottom, 9525 Deep Bottom Road, ZIP code 23231 – James River crossing important to Federals making attacks on Richmond’s defenses during the late summer and fall of 1864. Trails sign explains the landing’s role in the battle of New Market Heights and other action.

Savage Station, Trails sign just east of Grapevine and Meadow roads, ZIP code 23150 – Union rearguard fight here June 29, 1862, as Gen. George McClellan withdrew his army to the James River following the battle of Gaines’ Mill. A large Union field hospital was abandoned here.

White Oak Swamp, Trails sign at 7100 Elko Road, ZIP code 23150 – Union troops managed to hold off a listless Confederate attack here by Stonewall Jackson June 30, 1862. Jackson receives some blame for his failure here while Confederates fought it out at Glendale the same day.

Darbytown Road, Trails sign at entrance to Dorey Park, 2999 Darbytown Road, ZIP code 23231 – Robert E. Lee set out Oct. 9, 1864, to recover some of the Richmond defensive line he had lost during fighting on Sept. 29. Although attacks near here began well for the Confederates, Lee was unsuccessful in his last offensive north of the James River.

Meadow Bridge, Trails sign on Meadowbridge Road just north of the railroad tracks about a quarter mile south of Industrial Road intersection (ZIP code 23116) – Union cavalry had to fight it out here May 12, 1864 finding themselves nearly being trapped after the Battle of Yellow Tavern the day before. The Northern horsemen made good their escape with the help of Gen. George A. Custer.

Trent House

Trails sign located at the house, 1221 Grapevine Road, ZIP code 23150

Union commander Gen. George McClellan used this house as headquarters June 12–28, 1862. An observation balloon floated overhead while the Union high command tracked the beginning of the Confederate offensive (June 26–27) that would eventually dislodge them from this place.

Stuart’s Ride: “Passing through the Lines”

Trails sign in the Brook Run Shopping Center, 5700 Brook Road, Richmond VA 23227

JEB Stuart and 1,200 of his Confederate cavalrymen passed through these outer Richmond lines June 12, 1862, beginning what would be a three-day ride around the Union army, then gathered in the city’s suburbs. See also New Kent and Charles City listing below for more Stuart’s ride.

Engagement at Laurel Hill Church

Trails sign located at Laurel Hill United Methodist Church, 1919 New Market Road, Henrico VA 23231

This church marks the farthest advance of Union troops as they assaulted Richmond’s defenses Sept 29, 1864. Although the Confederates eventually were overwhelmed here, the Union forces turned their attention toward Fort Gilmer, 2 miles southeast, where the attack stalled.

Jump to Richmond National Battlefield Park | City of Richmond | Hanover | Henrico | Chesterfield | Powhatan | Charles City | New Kent

Chesterfield County

Visit any of the metro Richmond visitor centers and/or the Richmond National Battlefield Park for information about visiting Chesterfield County Civil War sites.

The Bermuda Hundred Campaign Sites

ButlerThis campaign was part of Union commander U.S. Grant’s grand plan for the destruction of Confederate forces in Virginia in 1864. In early May, Union Gen. Benjamin Butler landed his Army of the James below Richmond and above Petersburg while Grant was marching south from Culpeper and other Union armies were operating in the Shenandoah Valley.

Butler’s orders were to drive west from landings between the James and Appomattox rivers and threaten both cities. But the Union commander’s feeble efforts were thwarted by Confederates under Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard. Within weeks of his landing, the Army of the James was “bottled up” between the James and Appomattox. Butler was to remain there until Petersburg was evacuated in April 1865.

Bermuda Hundred

• 4701 Bermuda Hundred Road, ZIP code 23836

Civil War Trails interpretation at the river near the place where Butler launched his Bermuda Hundred campaign in May 1864.

Point of Rocks Civil War Park

• 201 Enon Church Road, Chesterfield VA 23836

This multi-use county park features trails exploring the southern end of the Union line on Bermuda Hundred. Remants of fortifications and the site of a large Civil War hospital (with Clara Barton connection) are highlighted. Lincoln, Grant and others visited this large Union base that continued to operate until the end of the war.

Battery Dantzler

• 1820 Battery Dantzler Road, ZIP code 23831

This Confederate fort represents the northern end of the famous Howlett Line. It once overlooked a curl of the James River (now cut off by Dutch Gap). Open to the public with Trails interpretation.

Fort Wead

Source: chesterfieldhistory.com

• Greyledge Boulevard and Greyledge Court, ZIP code 23836

Part of the Bermuda Hundred campaign tour. Fort was constructed in late May 1864 to reinforce the eastern section of the Federal line.

Drewry’s Bluff

• 7600 Fort Darling Road, ZIP code 23237

The Richmond National Battlefield Park maintains a unit here, site of a May 15, 1862, battle between Union gunboats on the James River and Confederate fortifications above. The Southern fortifications were attacked from the land side nearly two years later by Butler’s Union troops. This also was the site of the Confederate Naval Academy.

Fort Stevens Historical Park

• 8920 Pams Ave, ZIP code 23237

Chesterfield County park preserves the fort and interprets the fighting here mid-May 1864. Trails sign.

Battle of Chester Station

• Trails sign in YMCA parking lot, 3011 W Hundred Road, ZIP code 23831

Confederate attacks here May 5, 1864, failed to dislodge Union infantry stationed along the Southern communication and suppy line lines from Richmond to Petersburg. Although Union forces held the battlefield, they soon withdrew to Bermuda Hundred and were “bottled up” there.

Half Way House

• 10301 Jefferson Davis Highway, ZIP code 23237

Butler used this old tavern May 14–16 while fighting raged to the north at Drewry’s Bluff and Fort Stevens. He was forced to leave by a Confederate counter attack. Trails sign.

Battle of Swift Creek

Trails sign located at the Swift Creek Mill Playhouse, just off Route 1 between Richmond and Petersburg, 17401 Jefferson Davis Hwy, Colonial Heights VA

Union troops advancing south toward Petersburg ran into Confederate resistance here May 9, 1864. Several Confederate attacks here failed to dislodge the Union line, but Butler withdrew his Federal forces the next day.

Parkers Battery

• 1801 Ware Bottom Spring Road, ZIP code 23831

Part of the Confederate “Howlett Line” that “bottled up” Union forces during the Bermuda Hundred Campaign from May 1864 to the end of the war. Short walking trail through the original fortifications.

Howlett Line Park

• 14100 Howlett Line Drive, ZIP code 23834

Impressive earthworks with some unique features are preserved in this two-acre park. This was a strong point in the Confederate line that “bottled up” Gen. Ben Butler’s Army of the James on Bermuda Hundred in 1864 and was involved in several military events in the area.

Also in Chesterfield County:

Henricus Historical Park / Dutch Gap

• 251 Henricus Park Road, ZIP code 23836
• 804-706-1340

A beautiful Chesterfield County park is being developed above Dutch Gap at the site of a 1611 English settlement. Union troops tried to build a canal here late in 1864 to cut off a curl of the James threatened by Confederate forts such as Dantzler. The effort failed during the war, but the canal was completed later and is now the main James River channel. Civil War Trails interpretation overlooking the river in the park. Visitor center open Tuesday–Saturday 10 am–4 pm, Sunday noon–5 pm; park open 8 am–dusk. Closed January-February.

Chesterfield County Museum
and Lee’s Retreat marker

• Both located near the 1917 Courthouse, 6805 W Krause Road, Chesterfield VA 23832
• 804-777-9663 for hours

Museum takes in all of Chesterfield County’s history including items related to the many battles fought in the county in 1864. Small fee charged. A Civil War Trails sign is located nearby describing the April 1865 retreat through Chesterfield from Petersburg by Robert E. Lee and his Confederate army. Three Confederate columns retreated through the county, one stopping here at the courthouse before moving on. The retreat ended less than a week later at Appomattox.

See also Lee’s Retreat in Southside Virginia.

Powhatan County

Route 60 is the main road through Powhatan County, which is south and west of Richmond.

When Robert E. Lee’s lines collapsed at Petersburg April 2–3, 1865, Confederates from that city and Richmond retreated south and west to consolidate at Amelia Court House. Many of those soldiers who defended Richmond marched through Powhatan. The following two signs describe this part of the story of “Lee’s Retreat.” More on the subject in Southside Virginia: Lee’s Retreat.

Lee’s Retreat sites:

Ewell Crosses the Appomattox, Trails sign just south of Genito Road and Rocky Ford Road, Powhatan VA 23139 [ ] – On April 4, 1865, Confederate Gen. Richard Ewell, who commanded the Richmond-area forces, faced challenges crossing the Appomattox River near here while trying to join Lee in Amelia. Finding the Genito Bridge unfit, the Confederates crossed near here on the Richmond and Danville Railroad bridge at Mattoax Station.

Powhatan Court House, 3880 Old Buckingham Road, Powhatan VA 23139 [ ] – A large Confederate wagon supply train and some lost and straggling soldiers passed through here after Richmond’s fall. The much-needed supplies, meant to join Lee in Amelia, never made it. The wagons were captured shortly after crossing the Appomattox River near here.

Other Powhatan Trails sites:

Huguenot Springs, Trails sign at cemetery, Old Confederate Cemetery Road, Powhatan VA 23139 [ ] – A Confederate convalescent hospital was established here in 1862 at the site of an ante-bellum spa and hotel. Locals volunteered their time and limited resources to care for the soldiers here. A mass grave at the site contains the remains of more than 250 soldiers.

Derwent, 6000 Derwent Road, Powhatan VA 23139 [ ] – After his surrender at Appomattox, Robert E. Lee joined his family in Richmond. Bothered by constant visitors there and limited in funds, Lee began looking for “some small little home in the woods.” He was offered the use of Derwent, moving here late June 1865. He and his family lived here until mid-September when they moved to Lexington and the presidency of Washington College there.

Lee’s Last Bivouac, Trails sign 2630 Huguenot Trail, Powhatan VA 23139 [ ] – Robert E. Lee spent the night of April 14, 1865, on the lawn of Windsor, his last camp “in the field” after his surrender at Appomattox. He rode into Richmond and his family’s home the next day.

Charles City County

Southeast of Richmond

Stuart’s Ride: “Safe among Friends and Family”

Trails sign at the Bethany Presbyterian Church, 8001 Adkins Road, Charles City VA 23030

By 1 pm on June 14, 1862, JEB Stuart and his men had crossed the Chickahominy River successfully, putting it between them and Union pursuers. The pace slowed then and Stuart allowed local soldiers to lead his troopers to homes of friends and family in the area for a little rest.

Stuart’s Ride: “Coffee at Rowlands”

Trails sign located at 4800 John Tyler Memorial Highway, Charles City VA 23030

JEB Stuart and his escort stopped here briefly the evening of June 14, 1862, during his return to Richmond following his three-day ride around McClellan’s army. He reported to Lee that his troopers had captured 170 prisoners, 200 wagons and 300 horses and mules. He also had gained useful intelligence helpful to Lee as he planned the offensive known as the Seven Days Battles later that month.

New Kent County

East of Richmond

Stuart’s Ride: Baltimore Store

Trails sign at the New Kent Winery, 8400 Old Church Road, New Kent VA 23124

Advance units of JEB Stuart’s cavalry entered Talleysville on June 13, 1862. The Confederate horsemen helped themselves to goods offered by a Union sutler operating in Baltimore Store here. Stuart’s men left at midnight, heading toward the Chickahominy River with their Union pursuers 4 miles back.

Stuart’s Ride: Tunstall’s Station

Trails sign at 11030 Old Church Road, New Kent VA 23124

Gen. J.E.B. Stuart’s Confederate troops tore up tracks on the Richmond and York River Railroad and cut telegraph wires here during his celebrated 1862 raid behind Union Gen. George McClellan’s army. The Confederates also fired on a train loaded with Union troops headed for the nearby base at White House Landing.