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 here.