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Civil War on the James Tour
The Civil War on the James Tour:
This 2-hour tour offers the natural beauty of the James River as you trace the Naval actions that took place on the James in the areas of Dutch Gap, Trent's Reach and Jones Neck from 1862-1865. Listen to stories about Confederate torpedoes, the Dutch Gap Canal, The Bermuda Hundred Campaign, and the James River Squadron's desperate attempt to break out at Trent's Reach.
This stretch of river offers a unique opportunity to visualize these historic events in a landscape that has changed little since the time they took place one hundred and fifty years ago. The Civil War Tour also offers great opportunities to view wildlife on the river and in the Dutch Gap Conservation Area. Listen to storyteller Scott Williams, our leading Civil War interpreter, while Capt. Mike Ostrander guides the Discovery Barge II, a 24-foot covered pontoon boat, with you aboard.
2-hour Civil War Tour: $50 per person
For more information or to reserve space, contact Capt. Mike Ostrander at 804-938-2350.
Sunday, June 16. 9:00-11:00am & 11:30am-1:30pm
Sunday, July 21. 9:00-11:00am & 11:30am-1:30pm
Sunday, August 18. 8:00-10:00am & 10:30am-12:30pm
Departure Location: Civil War on the James Tour departs from Deep Bottom Park.
For directions, click here.
About Civil War Tour interpreter Scott Williams: Scott is the Chairman of the Military History Committee for the Chesterfield Historical Society. He was the mapmaker and a contributing author for the recently published Bermuda Hundred Campaign Tour Guide. Scott is also an active Civil War reinactor for numerous events staged throughout the State annually. Capt. Mike is recognized as one of the leading river guides on the James and has been offering a variety of fishing, historical and wildlife tours for over ten years.
The photo's stories? Above, right: One of the greatest discoveries Scott and I have had on the Civil War tours is the ability to take images from 150 years ago, and place them into the scene. Here Scott is holding up an image of a ferry boat that was turned into a warship for use during the Civil War. The view is looking south in the old river channel on the east side of Farrar's Island (Henricus). -- Photo by Capt. Mike
Above, left: During the Civil War, Union troops started to build a canal at Dutch Gap in 1864 to cut off a large bend in the James River protected by Confederate forts as in Batter Dantzler. The digging of the canal failed during the war, but was completed in the 1930's and is now the main James River channel.
Above, right: The USS Onondaga was a monitor used by the Union Navy in the Civil War. She was in the James River Flotilla and spent her time in the James River below Richmond. After the war, she was bought by France and used as a French naval vessel.
Below, left: This is an image of your tour guide, Scott Williams, dressed in his confederate uniform at sunrise. This image was taken during a cold, snow covered morning in January 2010. We waited for the perfect moment, and here it is ... just as the sun rose over the tree line on the north bank of the James River. Both Scott and I hope you will join us on the river for the Civil War on the James Tour. -- Photo by Capt. Mike
What do people have to say about the Civil War on the James Tour?
"I was fortunate to experience the Civil War Tour on the James River with Capt. Mike and his partner, Historian Scott Williams. As an avid history buff, I must say this was the most interesting and informative experience I have had regarding the Civil War. And, with the added bonus of wildlife insights and watching Bald Eagle, Osprey and Great Blue Heron in the natural habitat, nothing quite compares. Thanks to Mike and Scott for a great day on the River James ... don't miss out, it is a mind and eye opener." -- Jerry G.