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U.S. Colored Troops re-enactors to march into Richmond for 150th anniversary events

3/26/2015, 12:51 p.m.
A four-day commemoration in Richmond organized by a coalition of organizations called The Future of Richmond’s Past will mark the ...
An unidentified Union soldier poses with his wife and two daughters in this photograph taken circa 1863-1865.

A four-day commemoration in Richmond organized by a coalition of organizations called The Future of Richmond’s Past will mark the 150th anniversary of the liberation of Richmond, ending its role as the epicenter of the slave trade.

A major highlight will be the “Blue Coats Parade,” starting 9:30 a.m. Saturday, April 4. It is a commemorative procession along East Main and Bank streets from Rockett’s Landing to the State Capitol to follow the route of the United States

Colored Troops who led the Union Army in liberating Confederate-held Richmond. Re-enactors will march west along East Main Street, follow 14th Street to Bank Street and enter Capitol Square along 9th Street between 10:30 and 11 a.m. Contemporary military units will join the procession.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe will make remarks and will be joined by the choir from Virginia Union University and others in a ceremony from 11 to 11:30 a.m. on the Capitol Portico.

Other venues across the state also will commemorate the sesquicentennial of the surrender of the Southern army under Gen. Robert E. Lee on April 9, 1865, at Appomattox Courthouse.

The events April 1-4 in Richmond will include programs, tours of the city’s historic areas and an evening projection of images on modern Downtown buildings representing fires that burned as the city was evacuated.

The full schedule will be available at www.OnToRichmond.com and www.RichmondsJourney.org. Most programs and tours begin on the grounds of the State Capitol.

Highlights include:

Wednesday, April 1

“Christian Perspectives on Faith, Then and Now”: 7 to 8:30 p.m., 2nd Presbyterian Church, 5 N. 5th St.: Exploring the meaning of the end of enslavement and the Civil War in Richmond through the lens of the faith community.

Thursday, April 2

• “Richmond Burning”: 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 815 E. Grace St.: Exploring the story of the Confederate evacuation, featuring remarks by Dr. Nelson Lankford of the Virginia Historical Society, author of “Richmond Burning.” 

• Jefferson Davis and the Confederate Evacuation: 1 to 2:30 p.m., meet in front of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 815 E. Grace St.: Retrace the steps Confederate President Jefferson Davis took just prior to the evacuation of Richmond.

• “So Foul and Fair a Day – The Fall of Richmond”: 3 to 5 p.m., American Civil War Museum/White House of the Confederacy, 1201 E. Clay St.: Explore the final days of the Confederate capital and the first days of the liberating Union troops through a walking tour.

• The Burning of Richmond: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., tour starts at Bank and Governor streets: An evening illumination of Richmond’s Downtown cityscape will represent the evacuation fires with projected images on modern buildings. Guided lantern tours and re-enactors will give tourists the experience of the horrors of the fires.

Friday, April 3

• The Union Army’s Advance into Richmond: 6 to 8 a.m. and 9 to 11 a.m., Richmond National Battlefield Park’s Fort Harrison Visitor Center, 8621 Battlefield Park Road in Henrico County: This tour will follow the route of the Union Army’s march into Richmond in the morning hours of April 3, 1865. Registration is $20. Seating is limited. Reservations: (804) 771-2035.