We turn to the Overland Campaign for our August Meeting, with our speaker, National Park Service historian Eric Mink discussing the Battle of Alrich Farm.
Meeting time: 7:30 p.m., August 13, 2019
Location: Thomas Balch Library, 208 West Market Street, Leesburg, Virginia
Topic: The Battle of Alrich Farm – May 15, 1864
A little known affair, the skirmish of May 15, 1864 in Spotsylvania County was the first exchange of fire between Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia and the United States Colored Troops (USCTs). It was not the first engagement between the USCT’s and Confederate soldiers in Virginia, but it was the first between to the primary armies in the theater. Overlooked because of its lack of importance tactically, and strategically, the small affair on the Alrich Farm had symbolic importance. Would African-American soldiers stand and fight? A question frequently asked by Union soldiers before the campaign. At the Alrich Farm, the 23rd USCT answered that question.
Eric J. Mink is a graduate of Mary Washington College, where he received a B.A. in Historic Preservation and American Studies. For the past 25 years years he has worked on Civil War battlefields in Virginia and Pennsylvania. He currently serves as the cultural resources specialist for the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.