• Credit Jackie Appleton

An American Civil War Journey

Discover the US Civil War history in this itinerary.

Summary

An American Civil War Journey

During the American Civil War the eastern states of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania were rarely out of the headlines. Few parts of these states escaped the conflict with battles fought from the mountains to the Atlantic Coast. This itinerary suggestion takes you to just some of the key historic sites of this Eastern Theatre.

Day 1: Arrive Washington DC
Day 3: Manassas
Day 4: Fredericksburg
Day 5: Richmond
Day 7: Charlottesville (via Appomattox)
Day 9: Shenandoah Valley
Day 11: Antietam and Harpers Ferry
Day 13: Gettysburg
Day 15: Depart Washington

Description

Description

During the American Civil War the eastern states of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania were rarely out of the headlines. Few parts of these states escaped the conflict with battles fought from the mountains to the Atlantic Coast. This itinerary suggestion takes you to just some of the key historic sites of this Eastern Theatre.

Day 1: Arrive Washington DC
Fly to Washington DC for a 2 night stay in this cosmopolitan Capital city. There is so much to see and do including the famous Smithsonian Institution, the Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Jefferson Memorial, Arlington Cemetery, the Washington Monument and The White House Visitors Centre. Take a cruise on the Potomac River. In the evening head for Dupont Circle where there is the opportunity to taste the city’s international culinary skills and nightlife.
Washington DC 2 nights

Day 3: Manassas
This morning pick up your hire car and head to Manassas National Battlefield Park. Known as the Battle of Bull Run, this was the first major battle of the Civil Way in July 1961. A year later, in August 1062 a “Second Manassas” battle under General Lee was fought again – one of Lee’s most decisive victories. Run by the National Park Service, a wide range of activities are offered including a driving tour of the area, walking trails, scenic vistas and presentations about the history of the Battlefield.
Manassas 1 night

Day 4: Fredericksburg
Spend the day exploring Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park – with four major Civil War Battlefields (Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Wilderness, and Spotsylvania) and four historic buildings this is where the Civil War reached its bloody climax and no place more vividly reflects the War’s tragic cost in all its forms. A town bombarded and looted, farms large and small ruined, refugees by the thousands forced into the countryside and more than 85,000 men wounded; 15,000 killed-mostly in unknown graves.
Fredericksburg 1 night

Day 5: Richmond
Continue South to Virginia’s State Capital, and once the Capital of the Confederacy. Visit the Museum of the Confederacy which houses one on the most comprehensive collection of Civil War artefacts. Located on the James River, there is more to this city than history – it is rapidly becoming a cool and popular destination – many of the old waterfront warehouses have been restored to shops, restaurants, bars and breweries – and there are even white- water rafting activities passing though the centre of town.
Richmond 2 nights

Day 7: Charlottesville (via Appomattox)
Head west to Appomattox, the historical town when General Lee surrendered to General Grant to end the Civil War. Visit the McLean Court House where the war was officially ended in 1865. The surrounding National Historic Park commemorates the end of the War – walking tours allow you to explore the historical buildings as they were back then.
Continue on to Charlottesville, once home to Thomas Jefferson – visit his former home, Monticello.
Charlottesville 2 nights

Day 9: Shenandoah Valley
Known as “Virginia’s Crowning Glory” the scenic Shenandoah Valley was where Stonewall Jackson campaigned in 1862 and where Sheridan’s Union forces battled in 1864. Spend a day touring the valley and the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District. All battled out?… then take the Skyline Drive along the crest of the mountains through the woods and past spectacular vistas. Walk in the shade of oak trees along the Appalachian Trail, discover the stories from Shenandoah’s past, or just relax in the wonder of wilderness.
Luray 2 nights

Day 11: Antietam and Harpers Ferry
Short drive to Antietam where you will be based for 2 days, staying in a historic bed and breakfast property overlooking the famous Antietam Battlefield…
At dawn on 17 September 1863 Union forces mounted a powerful assault on General Lee’s left flank. Often seem as a Pyrrhic victory, this was the single bloodiest day in American military history. Take a self guided auto tour through the battlefield.
Spend time exploring nearby Harper’s Ferry – so much history is associated with the place. In 1859, abolitionist, John Brown, mounted an abortive raid on the armoury – he was subsequently tried and hanged but his act was seen as an important catalyst to civil war. Because of its strategic importance in terms of the both the railroad and rivers, the site changed hands 8 times during civil war.
If time allowed then another night here exploring the eastern panhandle of West Virginia (the only State formed during the Civil War) would be highly recommended. Drive along the historic and scenic George Washington Trail, visiting quaint and historic towns such as Shepherdstown, Berkeley Springs and Martinsburg
Antietam 2 nights

Day 13: Gettysburg
And finally to Gettysburg. Although the battle here did not end the Civil War, it was seen as one of the greatest battles and a significant turning point. It was also the inspiration for Abraham Lincoln’s immortal “Gettysburg Address”. Begin your tour at the Visitor’s Centre by watching the film “A New Birth to Freedom”. Hiring a private guide to tour Gettysburg will enhance your experience.
Gettysburg 2 nights

Day 15: Depart Washington
Return to Washington for your return/onward flights – or perhaps drive to New York for a stay in the Big Apple before your return home.

This is just one suggestion for a tour of this area; it can be adapted and amended in any way to suit your own particular interests. Call us to find out more

Photographs by kind permission on CRUSA (Capital Region USA) and West Virginia Division of Tourism

American Civil War - Antietam American Civil War - Blue Ridge Parkway American Civil War - Harpers Ferry

 

American Civil War - NV10042905V_115.TIF  American Civil War - Shepherdstown

Little Gems

Little Gems

***Antietam Overlook Farm B&B, a 19th century style Country Manor Inn, enjoy the magnificent surroundings, overlook Civil War history, view rolling mountains and the land of four states***

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