|Richmond: Day 2 started off painfully early once again. It took nearly everyone more than one cup of coffee to wake up for Cold Harbor, but somehow we managed. The bus ride to the site, which is part of the Richmond National Park conglomerate, did not take long as the sky was clear and the traffic was light. Upon arrival, Dr. Guelzo assumed tour guide duties and gave an eloquent oration on the horrific battle. We followed the Confederate works across the battlefield, stopping at areas of particular importance and for members of the group with regiments in the area to share what happened. It was a rather somber morning. However, the very fact that the group was at a battlefield compensated for the rather depressing tone of the moment.|
|Leaving Cold Harbor behind, we found lunch then moved on to the summer stomping grounds of Allison, the siege lines of Petersburg. After some coaxing, Allison explained to us the actions that occurred at Battery Five on June 18, 1864, where the Union II and XVIII Corps could have captured Petersburg, but instead stopped short. We tramped down the hill to find "The Dictator," the thirteen inch mortar hauled in by the Union to wreak havoc on the city and the Confederate lines. The shells could fly two and a half miles, even though the shells weighed several hundred pounds a piece.|
|After a group photo, we were on the move again to Fort Stedman, where a Confederate counterattack was repulsed on March 25, 1865. Below the site, we learned of the horrible fortunes from Mr. Booz of the First Maine Heavies, who suffered over four hundred casualties in one action in June of 1864. We also stopped to visit the example of what siege life was like, including magazine, which Anna managed to crawl into, and winter quarters, which John and I were trapped inside of.|
We finished our tour with the Crater, where we first visited the mine shaft where the five hundred eleven foot tunnel began. We climbed up the hill to the actual crater itself, which is still massive, despite years of topsoil accumulation that fills in the hole. We heard of the carnage that was wrought there, casting another somber mood upon our ranks. Unfortunately, daylight was fleeting and therefore forcing us away from the park. We had to skip Five Forks for want of time. We pressed on to a new Holiday Inn Express and settled down for the night after another fulfilling day of battlefielding. Our final day was approaching.