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Small but Important Riots: The Cavalry Battles of Aldie, Middleburg, and Upperville

A tour led by cavalry historian and author Bob O'Neill.

June 23, 2024


As General Robert E. Lee launched his Northern invasion in June 1863, the much-maligned cavalry of the Army of the Potomac under Alfred Pleasonton stepped to center stage in their attempts to locate Lee’s army and determine their objectives. The ensuing fighting in Virginia’s Loudoun Valley from June 17 – 22 at Aldie, Middleburg, and Upperville are some of the most overlooked engagements of the Gettysburg campaign.

The tour is based on Bob O’Neill’s thirty years of research and access to previously unpublished documents that shed much new light on these encounters, particularly Pleasonton’s Union cavalry.


WHEN: Sunday June 23, 2024.  Meet 8:30 AM  -- Estimated end 4:30 PM.

WHERE:  We will begin at Mt. Zion Church at 8:30 am. The church is located at 40309 John Mosby Hwy (Rt. 50) – just east of the intersection of Rt 15 and Rt 50. We will have an opportunity to organize the car caravan and leave extra cars, if necessary. There is no bathroom here. We will return to this location at the end of the day.

WHAT: Scheduled stops include Mt. Zion Church, Furr house (Aldie), Haystacks fight, Horse Memorial in Middleburg, site where 1st Rhode Island Cavalry met its demise, Rector home in Atoka (Rector’s Crossroads during the war), Goose Creek Bridge, Vineyard hill and head toward the scene of John Buford’s fight on Trappe Road.

LUNCH: Due to limited food options in the area, please bring your own lunch! We will make a lunch stop at Mickie Gordon Memorial Park.  

REGISTRATION: Due to parking limitations, we have to limit ourselves to five vehicles – approx. 20 people at the most!

$50.00 per person for the full day, maps, and water.






"Lee's army will be your objective point. Wherever Lee goes, there you will go also." – Ulysses S. Grant to George Meade


Join battlefield guides Jim Hessler and Chris Army on April 13 – 14, 2024, for a 1.5 day educational and social tour of the bloody and chaotic Battle of the Wilderness.

The Battle of the Wilderness was fought on May 5 –7, 1864. It was the opening battle of Ulysses Grant's 1864 Overland Campaign against Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia. The fighting occurred in a wooded area about 20 miles west of Fredericksburg Virginia, not far from the 1863 Chancellorsville battlefield. The two armies combined to suffer nearly 29,000 casualties in the tangled Wilderness. The battle is generally considered to be tactically inconclusive. Grant got his first taste of fighting Lee’s army and was the first to withdraw, but unlike prior Northern generals Grant continued forward in his offensive rather than falling back.


Tour Includes:

  • All-day Saturday (April 13) and half-day Sunday (April 14) educational tour of sites associated with the NPS Wilderness battlefield.
  • There will be some walking involved on NPS-maintained trails.
  • Maps
  • Water
  • Carpool: as in past tours we will carpool from point to point. (No bus.)
  • Lunch: bring your own or we will concentrate in a central area around lunchtime on Saturday to buy your own.



  • April 12: Optional Friday night arrival. Hotel information below.
  • April 13: Saturday tour from approximately 9:30 am – 5:00 pm. Lunch break in between.
  • April 14: Sunday 1/2-day tour in morning. Try to conclude by lunchtime.



  • $95 per person for 1.5-days tour, handouts, and water.
  • Tour Registration link is here:


We have an optional room block at the Hampton Inn Fredericksburg for those who wish to stay over and not travel.

Optional hotel is not included in tour costs, our room rate (King or Queen) is $135.00 per night + tax. This is a good rate for Fredericksburg at this time of year!

Hotel Booking Link (Separate from Tour Registration):,WW,HILTONLINK,EN,DirectLink&fromId=HILTONLINKDIRECT


Please note, the entire URL must be copied and pasted for it to work properly.

(You should see the Wilderness Tour Rate of $135 / night when using this link.)


Hotel: Hampton Inn and Suites by Hilton Fredericksburg

1080 Hospitality Lane

Fredericksburg, Virginia, 22401, USA

(540) 786 -5530


Group Name: Wilderness Tour

Arrival Date: 4/12/2024 (Friday)

Departure Date: 4/14/2024 (Sunday)

Cut-off Date: 3/13/2024


Another way your guests can book their reservations is by calling our Hilton Reservations toll-free number at 1-800-HILTONS, have your guests mention the Wilderness Tour or the unique code WDT to receive your group rate.


We hope to see you there!


Friday, September 15th, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm, at the Adams County Historical Society, 625 Biglerville Road, Gettysburg, PA 17325.
Join us for a special recording of the popular Battle of Gettysburg Podcast as we commemorate the 160th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s visit to Gettysburg and delivery of the Gettysburg Address. The podcast team welcomes special guest ACHS historian Tim Smith as we uniquely tackle all things related to Lincoln at Gettysburg. Lincoln’s speech is one of the defining moments of the Civil War, but what does Tim really think about its importance? Where did Lincoln go and who did he see while in Gettysburg? What are Tim’s favorite myths and misconceptions related to the Gettysburg Address? Will Tim participate in an installment of the podcast’s Dan Sickles Report? You will want to attend and learn the answers to these questions and many more.
This is a recording of the Battle of Gettysburg Podcast that will be broadcast prior to the 160th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address in November. Come join the audience for a Lincoln commemoration that will be unlike any other.  
$10 for ACHS members, $20 for non-members.

Click Here to reserve your spot today!



Third Winchester: June 24th, 2023, 

with Eric Lindblade

Click Here to Sign Up Today!


By the summer of 1864 the Shenandoah Valley had remained to Union forces a “valley of humiliation” for three years.

That ended in dramatic fashion on September 19, 1864 when a Union army under Philip Sheridan defeated Confederates under Jubal Early at the Battle of Third Winchester.

According to one participant the battle “was one of the hottest times I ever seen. Gettysburg could not hold it a light while it lasted.”

Third Winchester proved to be the largest and bloodiest battle fought in the Shenandoah Valley during the Civil War and included familiar faces from both the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia in addition to two future presidents of the United States and even a former vice president!

Join historian Eric Lindblade of The Battle of Gettysburg Podcast for a guided tour of this critical, yet under-appreciated, battle that helped shift the tide of war in the Shenandoah Valley for Union forces and began the decline of Confederate fortunes in that section of Virginia.
Tour is limited to 30 people, so don't delay in signing up!

Date & Time:

Saturday June 24 at 9am



Meeting Place:

541 Redbud Rd. Winchester, Virginia 22603


Tour of Appomatox: September 2-4, 2023, with Hessler/Spaugy Action Travel

Click Here to Sign Up Today!

The Appomattox campaign, fought by General Ulysses Grant and the Army of Potomac against Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, led to the ultimate surrender of Lee’s army and the effective end of the Civil War. Join us as we relive this legendary campaign and the final days of Grant and Lee’s armies with renowned historian Patrick Schroeder. Pat is the historian at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park and has written or published more than 20 Civil War books. Patrick’s two-day tour will include: Namozine Church, Sailor’s Creek, Farmville, Clifton House, Appomattox Court House, Lee-Grant April 10 meeting, Stacking of Arms/Salute Site, and much more! (Tour stops subject to change.)


  • Friday 9/1/23: Recommend arrival.
  • Saturday 9/2/23 – Sunday 9/3/23: Campaign tour led by Appomattox Court House NPS Chief Historian Patrick Schroeder. Tour starts on Saturday morning; see starting point BELOW.
  • Monday 9/4/23 (Labor Day):  Depart.


  • We do not have a hotel rate for FRIDAY NIGHT.
However, the tour will START on SATURDAY morning at the following location:
Holiday Inn Express / Petersburg Dinwiddie:
5679 Boydton Plank Rd, Petersburg, VA 23803
Front Desk:   1-804-518-1515
Reservation:  1 888 HOLIDAY (1 888 465 4329)


  • We have a block reserved for SATURDAY AND SUNDAY NIGHTS at:
Hampton Inn Farmville: 434-392-8826
300 Sunchase Boulevard
Farmville, Virginia, 23901, USA
Dates: September 2nd and 3rd (checkout on 4th)
Rooms: 25
Group Rate: $129
Cutoff Date: August 2nd, 2023
Group Block Code: HST
Guests may use the code HST when either calling the hotel directly at 434-392-8826 or when booking online on the official website. The cutoff date for the block is set for August 2nd, 2023, so please be sure that everyone books by that date to ensure they get the correct rate and within the block.


As in past Hessler-Spaugy excursions, we will carpool caravan-style.


We ask for $350 per person deposit ($600 per household couple) from you to cover the guide and program expenses.

It promises to be another epic Hessler Spaugy adventure, and we hope to see you there!


Washington DC: June 3, 2023, with Jim Hessler

Click Here to Sign Up Today!


Morning (10:00 am) - Lafayette Square:

  • Join us on a walking tour of the violent history of Lafayette Square in Washington DC.

  • Our tour will focus on the infamous murder site where Dan Sickles killed Philip Barton Key.

  • Other Points of Interest:

    • Blair House (where R.E. Lee was offered command of the Northern army.)

    • Site where Secretary of State Seward was nearly assassinated by Gettysburg veteran Lewis Powell.

    • Dolly Madison house and McClellan’s headquarters.

    • St John’s Episcopal Church, attended by Lincoln and generations of other      Presidents.  

    • Assassination attempt on President Harry S. Truman.

    • More!

Afternoon (3:00 pm) – Lincoln Cottage:

  • Group tour of the site where Lincoln made some of his most important decisions.


$70 for both Tours. ($37.50 for each tour individually.)


On your own.


  • Meet at Lafayette Square by 9:45am. Tour starts 10am.

  • Metro instructions will be provided to attendees.

  • Group carpools or group Metro riding will be arranged based on interest.


Ask About Our "Beyond Gettysburg" Tours: 

  • Gettysburg Campaign: Hunterstown, Fairfield, Monterey Pass, Brandy Station, Lee’s Retreat, Chambersburg, and more!
  • Indian Wars / Old West: Little Bighorn (aka “Custer’s Last Stand”), Rosebud, Fetterman Fight, Fort Phil Kearny, Tombstone AZ.
  • Other Civil War Battles: Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg, Winchester, and more!
  • Texas War of Independence: Alamo.
  • Civil War Washington DC: Lafayette Square, Sickles / Key Murder.

Email: for details!