South Civil War.pdf - Leisure Group Travel

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South Civil War.pdf - Leisure Group Travel

on location: south ❖ dave bodleDays ofBlueandGrayIn spring 1861 our nation and itsterritories entered a four-year conflictthat would become the bloodiestwar in our history. Regardless of yourviews on the causes of the CivilWar—slavery, state’s rights or a combinationof both—it remains ourcountry’s darkest moment.The American Civil War took itstoll on the lives of our citizens, destroyingfamilies and often pitchingbrother against brother. Approximately620,000, or 13 percent of thenation’s men, perished in battle orfrom disease. Countless others weredisabled and eventually died fromtheir wounds. The cost of the CivilWar in terms of human life exceedsthe total of the Revolutionary War,War of 1812, Mexican AmericanWar, Spanish American War, WorldWar One, World War Two, KoreanWar and Vietnam War.This year our nation will examinethe 150th anniversary of this tragicevent’s beginning and continue theobservance for four more years. Virtuallyevery state and American territorywere involved in the Civil War.However, with a few notable exceptions(Gettysburg and Antietam),most of the battles were fought onConfederate soil.To varying degrees, every Southernstate will commemorate the war’ssesquicentennial. Virginia will beginits observance in July 2011 by rememberingthe first major battle, theFirst Battle of Manassas/Bull Run.Richmond, Fredericksburg and theIn northwestern Georgia, the oldest Civil Warnational military park recalls the 1863 Battle ofChickamauga, the last major Confederate victory.Tennessee Department of Tourist DevelopmentA drummer boy receives instructionat Shiloh battlefield in Tennessee.Southern statesand tour organizersare gearing up for the150th anniversaryof the Civil WarGeorgia Department of Economic Development26 April 2011 LeisureGroupTravel.com


Georgia Department of Economic DevelopmentExplore POW issues at Andersonville National Historic Site in Georgia.Shenandoah Valley all played a significantrole in the conflict and have eventsplanned. West Virginia begins markingmajor events culminating in the 1863formation of the only state created as adirect result of the war.A new and expanded North CarolinaCivil War Trails map has just beenreleased. Included are the final steps ofSherman’s March and General GeorgeStoneman’s raiders’ “Cold Mountain”territory activities. Sherman also left hisdestructive mark on Columbia, S.C.The state capital was severely punishedfor those first shots fired at Fort Sumterin Charleston. Plantations along thecoast and the Rice Museum in Georgetowndepict why slave labor was necessaryto the South’s agrarian economy.The Blue and Gray Trail takes visitorsthrough northwest Georgia fromChattanooga to Atlanta and some ofthe most dramatic events of the CivilWar. Here you’ll find the route for“The Great Locomotive Chase” of1862 and the site of the second largestbattle of the Civil War, the Battle ofChickamauga.In Arkansas the Hindman Hall Museumat Prairie Grove Battlefield StatePark is scheduled to open this summerafter extensive renovations. When theConfederates withdrew from the 1862Battle of Prairie Grove, it was clear thatMissouri and northwest Arkansaswould remain in Union hands.Though a slave state, Kentucky declinedto secede from the Union. Boththe Confederate and Union armiesconsidered Kentucky a must-have.Kentucky was the birthplace of bothAbraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis.Tennessee, like an umbrella, protectedthe Deep South states. Any invasion ofGeorgia, Mississippi or Alabama had togo through Tennessee. Second only toVirginia in the number of battles foughtwithin her borders, Tennessee is rich inCivil War history.One of the turning points of the CivilWar was the siege and eventual loss ofVicksburg, Miss. With the South divided,no longer were blockade runnersable to get supplies west of the MississippiRiver to Confederate forces.Corinth has the Civil War InterpretiveCenter and the Contraband Camp, bothunlike any other Civil War attraction.Although not the scene of any significantmilitary action, Alabama contributedmore than 120,000 men toConfederate service—almost all of thestate’s white males capable of bearingarms. The Union blockade of MobileBay was devastating to both Alabamaand the Confederate cause.For many tour operators, offeringCivil War themed product may bechallenging. Here are a few thoughts toLeisureGroupTravel.com April 2011 27


on location: south ❖get us started: The first step is determineif your clients are full-fledgedhistory junkies or just interested inlearning a little more about this importantchapter in American history. Is amulti-day tour (campaign) the way togo, or are we simply looking for a stopon the way?Regarding the latter, it’s my thoughtto add a piece of Civil War historyto every itinerary, where anappropriate attraction exists. Atrip to Nashville might includea visit to the Tennessee StateMuseum and its impressivedisplay and explanation of theBattle of Nashville. Likewise, atour to the Atlanta area wouldinclude a visit to the AtlantaCyclorama & Civil War Museum.Of course, a visit to Virginiashould absolutely includea stop in Richmond and theVirginia Historical Society.Through Dec. 30, 2011, An AmericanTurning Point: The Civil War in Virginiawill be on display.Introducing a Civil War character toyour group can be both informative andentertaining. In West Virginia, RickGarland does a great Gen. J.E.B. Stuartas a step-on guide. In Gainesville, Ga.,Joe Whitaker does group tours to sitesassociated with Gen. James Longstreet.The Ben Lomond House in Manassas,Va., a Confederate hospital during theWest Virginia Department of Commerce/Steve ShalutaJohn Brown Wax Museum in Harpers Ferrychronicles the life of the famous abolitionist.First Battle of Manassas, will providedoctors and nurses to share their experiences.Joseph McGill of the Charleston,S.C. office of the National Trust forHistoric Preservation, has slept in numerousslave quarters to bring to lightthe plight of African-Americans prior tothe Civil War. His story is fascinating.Virtually every Southern state is richwith sites that mark both large andsmall battles and trails filled with museums,attractions and events. The placeto start is the state tourism offices.Many have websites dedicated to theCivil War Sesquicentennial. LocalDMOs can to provide specific profileson attractions and events in their area.For groups whose interest is piquedby events of historical significance, amulti-day Civil War experience is certainlya worthy product. The challengefor tour operators is developing and refininga tour that has not been a part oftheir traditional offerings. There is somuch information available about theAmerican Civil War. How to wadethrough that input and determinewhat’s group-friendly is the question.This writer’s recommendation is torely on professionals who have beenthere, done that and already have the T-shirt. I suggest using a receptive operatoror tour operator that is well versedin the American Civil War. They’ve alreadyput a product togetherand can customize with ease.They’ll know if a re-enactmentat a battlefield is group-friendly.They’ve worked with the storytellerswho portray period characters.For years Stars and StripesTours has been providing onetothree-day tours of Gettysburg.The itinerary is fine-tunedand proven. From AbrahamLincoln delivering the GettysburgAddress to a soldier hostingyour campfire dinner andsharing his feelings, you can be assuredyour customers will have a memorableexperience.Civil War Tours will help plan anddevelop your tour and offer suggestionson how to fill your coach. It is the onlycompany endorsed by the Civil WarTrails in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland,North Carolina, West Virginiaand Kentucky.“We’ll do so much more than simplytake you to a museum or battlefield,”said Cathy Strite, president of CivilWar Tours. “Groups want to participatein the experience.” Personal visits fromperiod characters, special dinners atmuseums and sites, and guides with adeep knowledge all contribute to a successfultour.Planning for the 150th anniversarycommemoration began in early 2009.Many exhibits and events are takingplace as you read this article. Now is thetime to provide your clients with theAmerican Civil War experience. LGT28 April 2011 LeisureGroupTravel.com

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