Battles and Technology

To schedule a program or for more information, please email the Programs Coordinator or call (804) 649-1861 x121.

New! The Tredegar Iron Works

During the American Civil War Tredegar Iron Works cast more cannon for the Confederate Army than any other source, but that is just one piece of the company’s fascinating story. From its beginnings in 1837, providing for the vast expansion of the railroad industry, to its wartime production during the Civil War, World War One and World War Two, to its current use as a museum and visitor center, Tredegar has been an important part of Richmond’s history.

Length: 1 hr. 

New! The Bohemian Brigade

During the Civil War the art of photography was still in its infancy. The long exposures times meant cameras couldn’t capture movement and photos couldn’t be reproduced in the newspaper. The job of providing the public with images of battle as well as scenes of camp life fell to brave men known as Special Artists. These Special Artists called themselves the “Bohemian Brigade” and with pencil, crayon, and brush they provided the world with firsthand depictions of the American Iliad. Join us to learn about the adventurous lives of such Special Artists as Winslow Homer, Alfred Waud and Frank Vizetelly and the methods used to bring their images to the public.

Length: 1 hr. 

The Things They Carried

Inspired by author Tim O'Brien's award-winning book of the same title, "The Things They Carried" uses artifacts from the Museum of the Confederacy's collection to gain insights into the experiences and mindsets of Confederate soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Length: 30 -45 minutes

The Battle of the Wilderness

The battle of the Wilderness was fought in early May of 1864 in Spotsylvania. It was the first battle in Grant’s Overland Campaign against Lee with both sides suffering heavy casualties. Although the outcome was inconclusive, it was a turning point of the War.
Length:  1 hr.

Cold Harbor 1862 versus Cold Harbor 1864: Two Different Wars?
There were two different battles fought on exactly the same ground two years apart. The leaders, the tactics, and the results were completely different. This discussion is a comparison of the two.
Length:  1 hr.

Kriegsspiel
"Strategy is the art of making war on a map.”
In the days before cellular communication and GPS, army commanders had to rely on good reconnaissance and written messages.  In this nineteenth century-style war game, participants will take the role of army and corps commanders and test their skills of strategic maneuver and communication as they recreate one of the great campaigns of the Civil War. The simulation will introduce the players to some of the difficulties of the “fog of war” where communication is not instantaneous and you never know exactly what the other army is doing. Do you have what it takes to go head to head with Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, or push the Federals out of Kentucky? This program immerses participants in the nineteenth century art of war and is an excellent team building experience.
Length: 4 to 6 hrs.
Cost:  $25.00 per person, lunch included.
Conditions:  Kriegsspiel has an 8 person minimum and a 16 person maximum.

Medical Practices of the Civil War
Through the use of PowerPoint and reproduction 19th century medical equipment, this program will examine medical practices of the Civil War highlighting the causes of disease, the organization of the hospital system, the treatment of wounded soldiers, and the contributions of medical personnel. A mock amputation will be performed to demonstrate the most common surgery of the Civil War. 
Length:  1 hr.

The Art of Surviving:  Belle Isle and Beyond
By the winter of 1863-1864, the population of Belle Isle had swollen to twice its intended size, with an estimated 6,000 to 8,000 enlisted men on the island.  Disease, malnutrition, and exposure were ever-present killers.  But this was just one of many prisons where men suffered and died.  This talk explores the similarities of prison life in both the North and the South and discusses how prisoners of war coped with their dire conditions.

Length: 1 hr.

From This Point of Observation . . .
Balloons and the Beginning of Aerial Reconnaissance in the American Civil War
This Power Point based program focuses on the creation of the U.S. Balloon Corps during the Civil War. It includes a basic history of early ballooning and the use of balloons for reconnaissance during the war, both Union and Confederate. Also discussed will be the ultimate failure of the Balloon Corps and the possible reasons for that failure as well as the continued 20th Century attempts to find military uses for lighter than air flight.
Length:  2 hrs.

Infernal Machines
Although known as mines today, they were referred to as “infernal machines” during the Civil War.  Learn how underwater mines or torpedoes were the most successful weapon the Confederates used against the Union Navy, sinking or damaging fifty-five of their ships.
Length:  45 min.

The Dam(n) Trip
After the Battle of First Manassas, General Stonewall Jackson was given command of the Confederate Army in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Greatly outnumbered by the Union army in the Valley, Jackson began to look for ways to attack the Union Army and its support. His attention fell on Dam No. 5 on the C&O Canal. This program focuses on the Confederate Army’s exciting and often humorous attempts to destroy Dam No. 5 in December, 1861.
Length:  1 hr.

Message in a Bottle
The Museum recently opened a 147-year-old bottle in its collections—only to find a secret coded message that had never been delivered. Learn what cryptology and the Siege of Vicksburg have to do with one another, in this exploration of a truly unique research project.
Length: 1 hour

Mysteries Revealed: Current Uses of Science and Technology in the Museum’s Collections
Advances in science and technology are enabling the Museum to learn more about the objects in their collections than ever before. Discover what x-rays, bloodstain analysis, and radiation can tell you about Civil War history! 
Length: 1 hour