Richmond partner Don King,
who was recently elected chair of the American Civil War Center board, spoke
Aug. 18 at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Civil War Visitor’s Center at
Historic Tredegar. During the next four years, as the nation commemorates the
150th anniversary of the Civil War and Emancipation, the National Park Service
and the American Civil War Center will jointly operate the new visitor’s center
as the gateway for people who want to explore the Civil War and Emancipation.
Richmond was at the heart of the struggle. Sixty percent of the war's battles
were fought trying to capture Richmond. The Tredegar Iron Works, which provided
most of weapons and ammunition used by the South, was a principal reason
Richmond was chosen as the capital of the Confederacy. Richmond was also the
center of the slave trade and the place from which thousands escaped to freedom
across enemy lines and enlisted in the Union army. Fourteen African-American
soldiers won the Congressional Medal of Honor in battles around Richmond.
Civilians, including women and children on both sides of the conflict, performed
daily acts of heroic courage and sacrifice. By telling all sides of the story –
Union, Confederate and African-American – Richmond and Tredegar are attracting a
surge of visitors who will learn the aspirations and conflicts that drove the
nation to war and still influence us today.
For a story in the Richmond Times-Dispatch about the event, click