(Richmond, Va.) — People keen on learning more about Civil War Richmond, long for the prize sought by Union commanders, have a new travel companion at their fingertips.
The American Battlefield Trust’s newest Battle App enables visitors to explore the 1862 and 1864 campaigns fought for the Confederacy’s wartime capital. This GPS-enabled tool packs plenty of battle action into a convenient mobile format, providing interactive content, images, videos, maps, tours, a chronology, and visitor tips.
Users can explore both military campaigns and the city of Richmond by visiting more than 20 points of interest, including both historic sites and modern attractions. Historian testimonies enhance the user experience by bringing to life key sites and battle actions.
The Richmond Battle App is among the many mobile-device apps for Virginia Civil War sites funded through a partnership between the American Battlefield Trust and the Virginia Department of Transportation. It is available for free, on both iOS and Android platforms, from Apple’s App Store and Google Play.
Developed for the Trust by Neotreks of Castle Rock, Colo., the app helps users navigate historic battle ground by following troop movements and connecting with soldier experiences. Must-see sites include Richmond National Battlefield Park,Tredegar Iron Works, the American Civil War Center, and the Virginia Museum of History and Culture.
“The latest offering in our Battle App series will whet people’s appetite to learn, see and do more in and around Virginia’s lively and historic capital,” Trust President James Lighthizer said. “With this app in hand, visitors will be introduced to a fascinating and multifaceted region that has much to teach us today. Its engaging multimedia guides visitors across time and distance to great stories and the places that world-changing history happened.”
Richmond played a major role throughout the Civil War, as the seat of the Confederate government and a manufacturing and military center. Northern newspapers began urging “On To Richmond!” in 1861, and from then on, the Northern public hoped for the city’s capture. Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan sought that end in the spring of 1862, advancing up the Peninsula until his army drew within sight of the city’s church spires.
When Gen. Joseph E. Johnston was seriously wounded in the Battle of Seven Pines defending Richmond, Confederate President Jefferson Davis’s advisor, Gen. Robert E. Lee, assumed command, profoundly changing the course of the war.
Lee aggressively pursued McClellan, in what became known as the Seven Days Battles, convincing the Union general that his forces were outnumbered and persuading him to withdraw to the safety of the James River. The Confederate army lost battles but won a strategic victory when McClellan ended his offensive. Forty-seven thousand men were killed, wounded and went missing in the 1862 battles for Richmond.
The app covers the 1862 fighting in an 11-stop tour that includes all of the Seven Days battlefields, plus Henrico County’s historic Dabbs House, Harrison’s Landing and scenic Drewry’s Bluff on the James.
Two years later, Lee was still in the fight, but Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant led Union forces in the fast-moving Overland Campaign south from the Wilderness, in a massive and doomed assault at Cold Harbor, and on to the railroad hub of Petersburg. Their armies fought on both sides of the James, with troops to the north covering some of the same ground contested earlier during the Seven Days Battles.
The app’s 1864 Campaign tour covers events from May 1864 to January 1865 and includes nine stops, totaling 25 miles of driving and walking.
In April 1865, Petersburg fell and Union soldiers entered Richmond, ending the dream of an independent SouthernConfederacy. The app describes African American soldiers’ valor in 1864’s Battle of New Market Heights, and notesPresident Lincoln’s surprise visit to the vanquished capital on April 4, 1865.
The app also explores the roles of women in wartime Richmond, including Phoebe Yates Pember, renowned for her perseverance in tending wounded soldiers at the enormous Chimboraza Hospital (now part of Richmond National Battlefield Park) and the cunning Richmond resident Elizabeth Van Lew, who ran a Unionist spy network.
The software links users to the Trust’s website, where users can find additional information about the battlefields featured in the app and others around the country, including videos, virtual tours, animated maps, photo galleries, in-depth articles, and preservation opportunities.
The American Battlefield Trust is dedicated to preserving America’s hallowed battlegrounds and educating the public about what happened there and why it matters today. The nonprofit, nonpartisan organization has protected more than 50,000 acres associated with the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and Civil War. Learn more at www.battlefields.org.