Civil War tours of Suffolk set for Saturday

Published 8:58 pm Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Suffolk’s Civil War forts and battlefields will be featured this Saturday in tours by local historian Kermit Hobbs.

Hobbs will lead morning and afternoon tours to discuss the city’s Civil War battles and skirmishes and observe some interesting and hard-to-find sites. This marks the 16th year that Hobbs has conducted the annual tours that attract more and more people for each trek.

“It’s the only opportunity you have to see these sites in Suffolk,” Hobbs said in a phone interview. “They’re not really open the public, and we have specific permission to go one day each year.”

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The morning tour will take participants to the Nansemond River Overlook, Fort Connecticut and the G.W. Smith home site. They’ll also visit the Deserted House battlefield, where Confederate forces faced Brig. Gen. Michael Corcoran’s “Irish Legion” of Union soldiers, according to irishamericancivilwar.com.

Hobbs will take fellow history buffs to the Nansemond River Overlook in the afternoon as well, along with Fort Stevens, Hill’s Point Battery and Fort Rosecrans. Rugged walking shoes are recommended in the afternoon, as the tour winds through the woods and up and down hills.

Fort Rosecrans was one of the forts built to withstand the Siege of Suffolk by Confederate Lt. Gen. James Longstreet and his 20,000 men.

“It’s one of a dozen different forts that were built defensively,” Hobbs said.

Fingers are crossed for good weather to allow for this unique dive into the war that came to the streets of Suffolk, Hobbs said.

“Early April is a pleasant time to get out and see some unusual things at these historic sites, along with interesting stories you normally wouldn’t hear,” he said.

The morning tour will leave the Suffolk Seaboard Station Railroad Museum, 326 N. Main St., at 9:30 a.m. and return around 11:30 a.m. The afternoon tour will leave the railroad museum at 1 p.m. and return about 4 p.m.

Both tours are $18 per person for Suffolk-Nansemond Historical Society members and First Baptist Church members or $20 for non-members. Reserve your space at 539-2781.