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A Spring Outing in the Footsteps of Grant and His Men!

By Wendy Swanson

Washington, D.C.

Saturday, April13, 2024

The Spotsylvania Battlefield today. A perfect spot for a spring outing.

The plans are now in place for the Lincoln Group’s annual picnic and tour. The date is Saturday, April 27, 2024. We also have a contingency plan, a rain date of May 18, in case Mother Nature does not smile upon us. Once again, Craig Howell will serve as our tour guide extraordinaire, this time leading us through the Battle of Spotsylvania.

Lincoln found the general he had been seeking—in the person of Ulysses Grant. We’ll travel back to the year 1864 to see how the war is progressing now that Grant’s the man! Is he the winner that Lincoln so desperately sought? Craig will pick up his commentary from where he left us a year ago at the Wilderness as we continue to follow Grant in his Overland Campaign.

We will assemble at 11 a.m. at the Chancellorsville Battlefield Visitor Center, 9001 Plank Road, Spotsylvania Courthouse, VA 22553. After going through the exhibits and bookstore, we will have lunch in the picnic area directly across the parking lot. Remember to bring your lunchtime meal!


Craig will review the background of the military and political events leading up to the actions at Spotsylvania. We will then consolidate into as few vehicles as possible by 1 p.m. to convoy down to our first tour stop at the Information Center for the Spotsylvania Courthouse Battlefield, 9550 Grant Drive, Spotsylvania Courthouse, VA 22553.

Craig will guide us around the battlefield, stopping at several critical points along the way. Most of our time will be spent around the famed Mule Shoe Salient, where Robert E. Lee's defenses were uncharacteristically vulnerable and where Ulysses S. Grant made a number of ferocious, if ultimately futile, attacks. Most of our walking will be done in this area, sometimes on pavement, sometimes on trails; generally, our walking will be on level or gently rolling ground and should not amount to more than a mile or two. We plan to depart the battlefield by 4 p.m. and head back to the Chancellorsville Visitor Center, where we should arrive by 4:30 p.m.

To reserve your spot, please RSVP to Craig at or (202) 304-8736. Craig will organize a carpool from the DC area for those needing transportation, so let him know when you RSVP if you need a ride or if you can provide a ride. The carpool will gather for a 9 a.m. departure at the Kiss & Ride lot of the East Falls Church Metro Station at North Sycamore Street and 19th Street in Arlington. Carpool passengers should reimburse their drivers $20. (FYI, there are no other fees for this excursion.)


Be sure to join us for a fun-filled day of great history and fellowship!

 Spotsylvania 1864—this was no picnic! This image was taken from a sketch by A.R. Ward. from a point on the federal line. Rebel rifle pits are in the distance.

Photo credits: Spotsylvania today: National Park Service

Spotsylvania 1864: Harper's Weekly (June 11,1864 edition, page 360)


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