Skip Navigation

Civil War Country

Travel Forums North America Civil War Country

1. Posted by cplford (Budding Member 98 posts) 9y

Can anyone suggest a short (one or two days) circuit to see some of the civil war sites near Washington DC?

2. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3562 posts) 9y

Patrick,
There are so many battlesites close to DC that it is hard to choose. I really enjoyed Gettysburg and recommend you have that on your list. With limited time, you basically have to choose between Virginia battlesites or Maryland and Gettysburg. Since Gettysburg is the probably the best preserved battlesite, I vote you hit the Maryland battlesites such as Antietam, Manassas & Sharpsburg plus Gettysburg. A helpful website is: www.civilwartraveler.com. Look at each state and decide what is the best route for you.

Patrick, I have a few civil war photos in my gallery; Gettysburg, Vicksburg, Appomattox. I know whatever direction you head, you will have a great time if you are a civil war buff.

3. Posted by Wonkerer (Respected Member 592 posts) 9y

If you go to Gettysburg you can rent a guide to go along with you in your car to all the different battlesites. It costs a decent bit, but is really great!

4. Posted by S_Paradise (Full Member 65 posts) 9y

The DC area is covered with major and minor sights within a few hours drive. The majority of the battles were fought in Central Virginia. Only a couple of major battles were fought north of the Potomac (river separting Maryland and Virginia). Gettysburg is great, but it is swamped with visitors especially during the summer. The other major battelfield sight in Western Maryland is where the Battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam) was fought. It is only about an hours drive SE from Gettysburg.

I live in DC and have visited all the major sights within 4 hours of DC, and most of the minor sites. While I think Gettsyburg is great, I more enjoy the Northern/Central Virginia battlefields.

There are two options that I think you have:

Virginia: http://www.civilwartraveler.com/virginia/
- Manassas (Bull Run) - 45 minutes SSE from DC
- Fredericksburg - 1:15 hr S of DC
- Wilderness - 1:15 hr S of DC
- Chancellorsville (Stonewall Jackson mortally wounded here) -1:15 hr S of DC
- Spotsylvania (bloody angle)- 1:15 hr S of DC
- Richmond (2nd Capitol of the Confederacy)
- Guinea Station (site of Stonewall Jackson death)

Maryland/Pennsylvania/West Virginia: http://www.civilwartraveler.com/maryland/
- Sharpsburg (Antietam)(bloody lane) single bloodiest day in US history
- Harper's Ferry, WV - site of abolitionist John Brown seizing Federal battery
- Gettsyburg, PA - most well know battle.

I would opt for the Virginia route.

PM me if you have any questions.

5. Posted by Ham Radio (Respected Member 284 posts) 9y

By all means, visit Gettysburg.

6. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1989 posts) 9y

Personally, I prefer the Maryland/West Virginia/Pennsylvania civil war sites. Both Gettsburg and Harpers Ferry are great. Harpers Ferry is to a large degree exactly the same as it was way back in the 1860s (during the Civil War). It is also a small city and not just a battlesite.

If you go to Gettsburg (and if you are a Civil War buff you must go here), one of the main restaurants is in an old home that used to be a stop on the "Underground Railroad"--the various homes the northerners used to smuggle (hide) runaway slaves from the South and transport them to the north. In this same place, they also have secret tunnels under the home that is where the bar and main restaurant are now located.

(Don't remember the name unfortunately).

Enjoy.

7. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1989 posts) 9y

Oh, and if you do go to Virginia war sites, swing by Charlottesville and visit Montecello (Thomas Jefferson's house and the only spot in the US on the list of international historical preservation sites) and Mount Vernon--George Washington's home. On the peninsula east of Richmond are Williamsburg (an old city that is kept exactly as it was in the late 1600s to early 1700s when it was the capital of Virginia), Jamestown (first English settlement in the US), and Yorktown (site of the most famous battle of the American Revolutionary War).

Enjoy

8. Posted by kkgfleur (First Time Poster 1 posts) 9y

In Virginia, there are the battlefields at Bull Run (Manassas) and Fredericksburg. Richmond has the White House of the Confederacy and the Confederate Museum and Chimparazo - all fascinating sites. In addition, the Virginia State Capitol is within walking distance of the White House of the Confederacy. The Capitol was designed by Thomas Jefferson. In the Old House Chamber, there is a statue of Robert E. Lee depicting when he appeared to accept the command of the Army of Northern Virginia. It is very emotional. Outside the Old House Chamber, in the Rotunda, is the Houdon statue of George Washington.

But be sure to see the Petersburg Battlefield, including the Seige Museum in Petersburg (Petersburg was under seige for 9 months), Grant's headquarters in Hopewell, Pamplin Park of the Civil War Soldier, where the Union finally broke through the Confederate lines, and last but absolutely not least is the crown jewel Blandford Church, which has Tiffany stained glass windows commissioned by the United Daughters of the Confederacy representing the Confederate states. Inside the church is like being inside a jewel! Outside there are gravesites of many who died in the battle of Petersburg and across the street from the church is a freedman's cemetery.

Petersburg is about 20 to 30 minutes south of Richmond.