The Civil War and Virginia State Parks

Civil War re-enactment at Sailor's Creek.Virginia has some of the most expensive land in the United States – it was purchased with the blood and lives of Americans during the four years of the Civil War. Virginia saw more battles than any other state and paid a steep price, both on the field of battle and on the home front.

Over the next year and a half, as the nation commemorates the sesquicentennial of the end of the Civil War and the liberation of 3.9 million enslaved Americans, Virginia State Parks are a natural choice to learn about Virginia’s role in the war, and the impact of the war on Virginia.

Six state parks annually commemorate the anniversary of their site's involvement in the war:

While these sites each saw battles, engagements or encampments, there is a broader story of the lives of Virginia’s women, men and children, both free and enslaved, during the four years of the war. It’s a story of survival, freedom and endurance; of changing lives and changing roles; of overcoming diversity; of dreams realized and hearts broken. These stories are written across the landscape of Virginia and in every community.

These stories and more are being told in every state park through programs, encampments and activities now through 2015.

Special event at Sailor's Creek Battlefield, March 28

The Overton-Hillsman farmhouse, circa 1780, will be open from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. It was recently restored to reflect the 1865 conditions the family and soldiers experienced when the house served as field hospital. Visitors will learn about its occupants and the soldiers treated by medical personnel on the lawn and in the home. There's no admission fee to tour the house.

From 2 to 4 p.m., visitors will experience the Battle of Sailor’s Creek as it unfolds on the terrain where this engagement took place 150 years ago. Living history units will execute a tactical demonstration portraying both Confederate and Union armies. Spectators will have the opportunity to observe the armies as they move across the battlefield. After fording Little Sailor’s Creek, they’ll see the final aftermath of the last major battle in Virginia of the American Civil War. Special event parking fees apply: $10 per car, $50 per bus.

On the morning of the Sailor’s Creek battle on April 6, 1865, Confederate and Union soldiers also had been sent to burn nearby High Bridge. Learn about that important skirmish at a living history demonstration on March 29.

Here are more details about the Sailor's Creek and High Bridge events.

Learn more about the Civil War sesquicentennial in Virginia.