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The Interior Library is proud to present a series of programs on the background and history of sites of interest in the Washington, D.C. region, as well as subjects highlighting the history of the United States.  The 45-minute programs, presented by National Park Service Rangers, are held in the Stewart L. Udall Department of the Interior Building

To register for a future Park Ranger Speaker Series program, please click here. For more information about our Park Ranger Speaker Series programs, please contact the Interior Library by phone at (202) 208-5815 or e-mail at library@ios.doi.gov.

Additional Park Ranger Speaker Series programs will be posted as they are scheduled. Please check this page regularly for changes or updates.

All programs scheduled through 2015 will be held in the John Muir Room, which is located on the ground level of the Main Interior Building.

Petersburg Through Five Forks
Tuesday, March 17, 2015, 1:00 pm - 1:45 pm

Hopes ran high in May 1864 and, contrary to popular history, each side found what it was looking for in the Virginia Wilderness west of Fredericksburg. The Civil War campaign that followed did shock both sides as Robert E. Lee countered each of Ulysses S. Grant’s bold moves to the left. Grant’s frustration mounted, as did his casualties. Lee’s vigilance and celerity of movement prevented Grant from taking Richmond. The resulting Siege of Petersburg dominated the final ten months of the war and tested the patience of both governments as well as the endurance of men in the field and women at home. The final rain-soaked week of March 1865 witnessed war’s cruelty and ferocity when Grant launched a massive Federal offensive culminating in the Battle of Five Forks. Following Five Forks, the Confederate defensive lines collapsed at both Petersburg and Richmond and Lee’s army began its fighting retreat against Grant’s determined pursuit toward Appomattox Court House.

Please join Park Ranger Michael Kelly as he examines two pivotal turning points of the Civil War, the Siege of Petersburg and the subsequent Union campaign leading to the Battle of Five Forks. See how the events that took place 150 years ago this month led to the eventual end of this great conflict.

Seige of Petersburg

Appomattox Court House
Tuesday, April 21, 2015, 1:00 pm - 1:45 pm

Appomattox Court House may have symbolized the end of the American Civil War but the story of that site and its surrounding environs was not completely finished. In this small village in central Virginia General Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to General Ulysses S. Grant on Palm Sunday, April 9, 1865. After four bloody years of fighting the American Civil War had come to an end. This final campaign between the Army of Northern Virginia and the Army of the Potomac is generally recognized as the close of the American Civil War. Historically known as the Appomattox Campaign or Lee's Retreat, the end of that historical chapter actually began a new chapter in United States lore; that being the creation of the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park. 

Please join Park Ranger Paul O’Brian as he discusses the Appomattox Campaign of 1865 and the events that led to the creation of the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park.

Appomattox Court House