The Civil War in Richmond Virginia


Richmond Role in the American Civil War (1861-1865)

Richmond, Virginia, served as the capital of the Confederate States of America during the vast majority of the American Civil War. It was the target of numerous attempts by the Union Army to seize possession of the capital, finally falling to the Federals in April 1865. Not only was Richmond the seat of political power for the Confederacy, it served as a vital source of munitions, armament, weapons, supplies, and manpower for the Confederate States Army and as such would have been defended at all costs regardless of its political status.

The Confederate States of America was formed in early 1861 from the first states to secede from the Union. Montgomery, Alabama, was selected as the Confederate capital. After the Confederate army fired on Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina, on April 12, 1861, beginning the Civil War, additional states seceded. Virginia joined the Confederacy on April 17, 1861. Shortly thereafter, in recognition of Virginia's importance, the Confederate capital was moved to Richmond, the capital of Virginia. Richmond remained the capital of the Confederacy until its fall in 1865.

Tredegar Iron Works, sprawling along the James River, supplied high-quality munitions to the South during the war. The company also manufactured railroad steam locomotives in the same period. Tredegar is also credited with the production of approximately 10,000 artillery pieces during the war which was about half of the South's total domestic production of artillery between the war years of 1861–1865. The foundry made the 723 tons of armor plating that covered the CSS Virginia (the former USS Merrimack), which fought the first battle between ironclad warships in March 1862.
Numerous smaller factories in Richmond produced tents, uniforms, harnesses and leather goods, swords and bayonets, and other war material. As the war progressed, the city's warehouses became the supply and logistical center for much of the Confederate forces within the Eastern Theater.

VA Marks the 150th Annivarsary of the American Civil War

The Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission is the first
of its kind in the nation. Created by the state legislature in 2006 , the organization’s mission is to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Virginia’s participation in the American Civil War. Diversity, inclusiveness, accessibility throughout the state and education are the key goals of the commission.

Over 60% of the war’s battles were fought on Virginia soil, and nearly 500 sites have been marked as part of the Civil War Trails program in the state. Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy, lies just 100 miles south of the U.S. capitol in Washington, D.C. and is cental to 13 battlefield parks and many other significant sites.

Among the important events and exhibits the commission has scheduled between 2011 – 2015 are:

  • An American Turning Point – The Civil War in Virginia, a major exhibit produced in conjunction with the Virginia Historical Society. This 3,000 square foot exhibition opens February 4 in Richmond and will travel to seven towns and cities in Virginia between 2012 and 2015. It features over 200 objects and 17 audio-visual programs.
  • Civil War 150 HistoryMobile is a traveling exhibition that will launch July 21 in Manassas during a commemoration marking the first battle of the war. This 53 foot Volvo tractor trailer will present battlefront and home front stories with local history and tourism information.
  • Civil War 150 Legacy Project is a document digitization and access program that involves archivists from the Library of Virginia traveling throughout the state to capture original manuscript material concerning the Civil War.
  • Virginia in the Civil War: A Sesquicentennial Remembrance is an award- winning DVD educational resource that has been distributed to schools throughout Virginia. It was produced by the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies at Virginia Tech in cooperation with Blue Ridge PBS in Roanoke.
  • Civil War in Virginia: Walk In Their Footsteps is a new web resource and app that will enable people to identify places that their ancestors, Union or Confederate, fought in Virginia. People will be able to print out a “battle plan” of Civil War sites that allows them to walk in their ancestors’ footprints.
  • Signature Conference Series is a program that has set a national standard for sesquicentennial commemoration. The first conference was held at the University of Richmond in 2009 and the second at Norfolk State University in 2010. Topics cover the full spectrum of Civil War history.
  • Link to Interactive Map


    Audio Information about the Civil War

    From VFH Radio in Charlottesville Virginia

    Civil War 150th - Questions Remain

    Questions Remain - Part1
    Questions Remain - Part 2
    Questions Remain - Part 3

    Civil War 150th - Why they Wought

    Why They Fought - Part 1
    Why They Fought - Part 2
    Why They Fought - Part 3

    The above recording are in mp3 format

    Richmond Civil War Heritage

    The city has a number of markers and monuments commemorating the Civil War and the town's role in the Confederacy. Monument Avenue was laid out in 1887, with a series of monuments at various intersections honoring the city's Confederate heroes. Included (east to west) were J.E.B. Stuart, Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, and Matthew F. Maury.
    Richmond's Hollywood Cemetery is the final burial place of many Civil War notables, including Davis, Stuart, former U.S. President and Confederate Congressman John Tyler, Virginia Governors and Confederate Generals Henry A. Wise and William "Extra Billy" Smith, Tredegar Iron Works owner and Confederate Brigadier General Joseph Reid Anderson, and Major Generals George Pickett, Fitzhugh Lee, Henry Heth, and John Imboden. A large, stone pyramid dominates the Confederate Soldiers' section, where over 18,000 (many of whom are unknown) Confederates are buried.
    The Richmond National Battlefield Park, a unit of the National Park Service, maintains several battlefields from the Peninsula Campaign and subsequent actions. The White House of the Confederacy (part of the private, non-profit Museum of the Confederacy) has been fully restored to its wartime appearance and is open for daily tours. Immediately next door to the White House, the internationally renowned Museum of the Confederacy houses the largest comprehensive collection of artifacts and personal effects relating to the Confederacy. A driving tour through Civil War sites in Richmond and its surrounding counties is maintained by Virginia Civil War Trails, and is well scavenged.