Confederacy Gains Its Foothold

  • October 17-24 2010
  • From Montgomery, AL to New Orleans, LA
  • Escorted by Civil War historian John C. Waugh.
The presidential election of 1860 set the stage for the Civil War. Since the 1850's the nation had been divided on the issues of slavery and state's rights. Southern views held that the Union was a confederation, in which the individual states were sovereign and exercised rights not encumbered by the notion of federalism. In December 1860, many Southern state legislatures authorized the formation of militias and other military units in anticipation of the conflict that would surely result from eventual secession. In February 1861 Montgomery, AL was designated as the capital of the newly formed Confederacy with Jefferson Davis as president and this is where we begin our journey. Throughout the week, Jack Waugh will help us understand the events of 1860 and beyond when 100 years later Montgomery would also be the center of the Civil Rights movement. Continuing to Selma we meet a woman who marched with Dr. King in 1965 who will bring this time back to life as we retrace the steps of those who were dedicated to bringing freedom and equality to all men and women. In Mobile, Jack will recount the most stirring naval engagement of the Civil War, Union Admiral David Farragut's dramatic storming of Mobile Bay in August 1864, and the decisive land battles six months later in the final days of the Civil War that forced the surrender of Mobile City itself, one of the last remaining Confederate bastions. Then we'll proceed to our final city, New Orleans whose historic presence can be felt in the architecture, the museums devoted to honoring our nation's past, and in the stories of the people who have made and who continue to make this city so endearing and enduring. Our continuing focus into our sesquicentennial commemorative of the Civil War will be blended throughout with various important aspects and reminders of our nation's ongoing story.

Sun/Oct 17
Arrive in Montgomery, AL and transfer to our downtown hotel. This evening we'll meet one another at our welcome reception and dinner at the Hank Williams Museum with time to enjoy a private tour as the museum is closed to the public.

Mon/Oct 18 Today we focus on Civil War sites as we visit the Alabama State Capitol, constructed in l846 becoming the first capitol of the Confederacy on February l8, l86l. A gold star in front of the Capitol marks the spot where Jefferson Davis, the first and only president of the Confederacy, stood to take his oath of office. The First White House of the Confederacy is an 1835 Italiante-style house, beautifully furnished with original period pieces and served as executive residence of President Jefferson Davis and his family while the Capital was located in Montgomery. We'll enjoy lunch and a special visit to the Alabama Archives, the oldest state-funded archives in U.S., with Chief Curator, Bob Bradley who will show us key historical papers and manuscripts. This afternoon we'll visit the places where Jefferson Davis left his mark in Montgomery—Exchange Hotel, Winter Building, Davis Inaugural Ballroom, St. John's Church, the train station where he arrived for his inauguration, the Confederate Post Office and Civil War Prison site. The evening is on your own to try one of Montgomery's local restaurants.
Breakfast, Lunch

Tue/Oct 19 We move forward a century to study Civil Rights in the 1960's. Montgomery has a rich heritage in the Civil Rights Movement and many of the sites are found right in the downtown area. The impressive Civil Rights Memorial, was designed by Maya Lin, the architect of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC and is based on the soothing and healing effect of water. It was inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr.'s quotation "... we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream. Next the Dexter Baptist Church, the site of the first major gathering that led to the Bus Boycott of 1955-56, was also the first pulpit occupied full time by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. The centerpiece of Montgomery's civil rights landmarks is, without a doubt, the Rosa Parks Library and Museum, containing permanent exhibits that chronicle the first twenty years of the civil rights struggle, beginning with the arrest of Mrs. Parks and following through to the many significant events that followed. We'll finish the day with a visit to Oakwood Cemetery where prominent figures in Montgomery history rest. Enjoy dinner together on our final night here.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Wed/Oct 20 Today we depart Montgomery and continue our Civil Rights theme with learning more about the famous 1965 Freedom March with Dr. Martin Luther King. We begin at the Lowndes Interpretive Center, the NPS site dedicated to those who peacefully marched 54 miles from Selma, Alabama, to the state's capitol in Montgomery in order to gain the right to vote. Here we will be met by Joanne Bland, who was 11 years old in 1965 when she became involved in the Voting Rights Movement in Selma, Alabama. The events she lived through during that time, particularly on the Edmund Pettus Bridge have shaped the course of her life. After our briefing at the center we'll continue to Selma and have a southern lunch with others who marched with Joanne and Dr. King. This afternoon we'll visit the Civil Rights Museum and end our day in Selma with our own march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Enroute to Mobile we'll briefly stop in Monroeville, AL, home of Harper Lee and setting for her classic, To Kill A Mockingbird. We'll check into our hotel and meet for dinner.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Thu/Oct. 21 Today is devoted to naval matters as we head to Dauphin Island and begin the recounting of the Battle of Mobile Bay where Admiral David G. Farragut and his Union forces forced the Confederate naval forces under Admiral Franklin Buchanan to surrender in August 1864 thus closing Mobile Bay and completing the blockade. We'll have a brief overview at Fort Gaines then take the ferry over the bay where the great battle was waged to Fort Morgan to tour its museum. We'll enjoy a seaside lunch and then continue to the site of the USS Alabama, a WWII battleship, for a brief visit. On our return to Mobile we will be joined by two historians from our hotel, The Battle House, who will brief us on its history. Dinner is on your own.

Fri/Oct 22 This morning we depart for New Orleans stopping enroute at Beauvoir, the last home of Confederate President, Jefferson Davis. Though the home suffered damage from Katrina, she has been restored and the Jefferson Davis Presidential Library and Museum is now under construction. Our tour of the home and grounds will be led by the onsite historian. We continue to New Orleans. After lunch we will discover the Civil War sites in the French Quarter and the Garden District where we can see the home of Confederate General John Bell Hood, Lafayette Cemetery, the Beauregard House and more. Enjoy dinner on your own tonight at one of the city's many restaurants.

Sat/Oct 23 This morning is devoted to a visit to the National World War II Museum, originally founded as the National D-Day Museum by the late Stephen Ambrose, features permanent exhibitions highlighting the nation's road to war, life on the Home Front and the amphibious landings at Normandy and in the Pacific and the outstanding 4-D movie, Beyond All Boundaries, in the Victory Theater. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure before meeting for our farewell dinner.
Breakfast, Dinner

This tour has been designed for the History Channel Club and will feature James Tarbox, Editor of the History Channel Magazine as the onsite escort. Members will receive a discount off the tour price and a signed copy of John C. Waugh's Last Stand at Mobile. We welcome non-members to join us.

Price Per Person based on double occupancy for HCC Members: $2450
Non-members: $2595
Single Supplement: $500

A deposit of $300 is required to secure your space on this tour. The final payment is due August 15, 2010.

Tour Includes: Three nights hotel accommodations in Montgomery, two nights in Mobile, two nights in New Orleans, hotel taxes, luggage handling, daily breakfast, three lunches, four dinners, deluxe motorcoach transportation throughout, admission to all sites as listed, the services of historian John Waugh throughout, local guides, pre tour reading list and information.

Not Included: Transportation to the tour, travel insurance, meals not indicated, alcoholic beverages.

For Reservations or questions, click here.

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