A Day with the Seven Days

snake-rail-fence-gaines-millThis past week, I had the distinct treat of spending a day on the Seven Days battlefields with Doug Crenshaw, author of the upcoming Emerging Civil War Series title Richmond Shall Not Be Given Up! The Seven Days Battles (look for it later this spring!). Doug and I were going over his driving tour and collecting a few additional pictures for the book. This week, I’ll post a few “On Location” videos with Doug. In the meantime, I thought I’d share a few of my favorites photos from the day.

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Beaver Dam Creek—The photo we’re using for the cover of Doug’s book was sketched from roughly the position where this wayside sign was located. The sign includes the same sketch.

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Gaines’s Mill—The monument to the 11th Mississippi sits on ground recently saved by the Civil War Trust. It’s the newest monument in the park, dedicated last June.

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Gaines’s Mill—These two cannon sit near the Watt House, marking part of the Federal position. They’re either waiting for Confederates or spring—I couldn’t tell which!

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Gaines’s Mill—When the Texans broke through at Boatswain’s swamp, they had to charge up this hill. While two more lines of Federal defenders waiting for them, fugitives from the first line of Federals, retreating up the hill, served as human shields that helped protect the Texans as they advanced.

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White Oak Swamp—What fan of Stonewall Jackson doesn’t shudder inside when they hear the name “White Oak Swamp”? Jackson was, of course, punch-drunk exhausted by the time he reached the banks of the swamp: he not only took a nap but also made several foggy decisions. Certainly the low-point of his Civil War career (at least until he got shot!).

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Malvern Hill—The twin chimneys of the Willis Methodist Church Parsonage still stand sentinel on the battlefield, although the church itself burned down in the 1980s.

7 Responses to A Day with the Seven Days

  1. Wonderful, Chris. I wish I could have been there with you guys. Looking forward to the videos.

      1. His Glendale book is very well done – I was surprised at how thoroughly Doug was able to cover background, tactics, and controversies – in addition to the good Jesperson maps – within the page limits. Here’s hoping that all of the new acreage saved by the CWT is available for exploration soon.

  2. One of the few Civil War battlefields I haven’t been to. How easy or difficult is it to them justice in a day?

    1. Doug and I spent about six hours doing the battlefields. That included a leisurely lunch and a stop at the end at the remains of the Seven Pines battlefield. I had enough time to poke around to get photos, which I don’t like to rush, although I had a general idea of what I needed, so I didn’t do most of the walking trails. I’d also been to Cold Harbor many times, so I skipped the VC there, although it’s definitely a “must” for a new visitor. The VC at Glendale is worth a visit, too, if you stop in season.

      So, that all said, I think you can reasonably do the Seven Days in a day so long as you plan to really make a day of it. Starting at Chickahominy Bluffs instead of downtown at Tredegar would also save you some time, although I would set aside a day just to do downtown itself (Tredegar, Chimbarazo, American Civil War Museum/MOC, Monument Ave, Hollywood Cemetery, Belle Island, and even Maggie Walker).

      1. Thanks, Chris. I need to make it back up to Richmond soon to visit some of those places.

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