Capital Region USA Civil War Trails and Itineraries
More Civil War battles were fought in the Capital Region than anywhere else in America.
Civil War Trails across Virginia and Maryland bring the stories of these battles and those who fought them to life on the very grounds were the action took place.
Walk in a soldier's footsteps across the battlefields of Virginia and Maryland, attend Civil War related events, or don 1800s garb and take part in a battle reenactment. Visit the many historic churches, homes, museums and cemeteries while making your way along the trails.
Experience the Civil War dramatically by tracing five different Civil War Trails throughout the state. More than 400 sites tell stories never before told, through pictures, battle maps, and interpretation. Travelers can spend two days or two weeks following the campaigns fought in Virginia through 79 cities and counties. Each site is car-accessible and describes events specific to that location.
- Lee vs. Grant, The 1864 Campaign
The 1864 Overland Campaign began west of Fredericksburg and ended with the siege of Petersburg.
- Northern Virginia, Crossroads of Conflict
The events leading up to the Battles of Manassas and Mosby Country, the defenses of Washington, and many other topics are explained at dozens of Trails sites from the rolling hills of Fauquier County to the DC suburbs.
- Shenandoah Valley, Avenue of Invasion
Trail stops uncover the often desperate action in the great breadbasket, the Valley of Virginia. Highlights are Stonewall Jackson's famous 1862 Valley Campaign and the final Union campaigns in 1864.
- Lee's Retreat, The Final Campaigns
Cover the route of Robert E. Lee's final march from Petersburg to Appomattox. Visit the battlefield at Sailor's Creek, where Lee lost a substantial part of his army, and explore the 1864 Wilson/Kautz Raid, as well as the critical battle at Lynchburg.
- 1862 Peninsula Campaign, Civil War in Tidewater
Drive the tour of the Peninsula Campaign, beginning at Fort Monroe in Hampton and ending on the bloody battlefields near Richmond. Several interpreted stops relating to the March 1862 Battle of Hampton Roads - the first action between two ironclad ships, the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia - are available.
Virginia Civil War Trip Itineraries
In Maryland, the Civil War is best explored in the footsteps of generals, on the heels of an assassin and by understanding the stories of the citizens who survived the conflict. Four carefully mapped driving tours link together a collection of both well-known and less-known sites from Baltimore City, throughout the Chesapeake Region, Southern Maryland and into Western Maryland.
Follow the routes of Union and Confederate soldiers in September 1862 as they marched through Maryland toward what would be the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest single day of battle in American history. The route begins with Robert E. Lee crossing the Potomac River into Maryland at Whites Ford, then moving quickly toward Frederick, through Middletown to South Mountain and on to Antietam battlefield.
This trail encompasses both invasion and retreat: Cavalry Tour, Union Advance Tour, Confederate Advance Tour and Retreat Tour.
Follow an interpreted driving tour along John Wilkes Booth's escape route from Ford's Theater in Washington, DC (April 14, 1865) after shooting President Lincoln, to the location of his capture and death in Virginia 12 days later. The tour follows Route 5 out of Washington into Maryland then joins US 301 South into Virginia. Nine Civil War Trails signs mark significant stops on the route.
This Civil War Trails tour covers the Baltimore city story as well as area themes involving African Americans, the all-important railroads and a variety of activity on the northern shores of the Chesapeake Bay.
Maryland Civil War Trip Itineraries
From Abraham Lincoln’s tide-turning elections and inaugurations to Dr. Martin Luther King’s soul-stirring “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC has served as a powerful backdrop for catalyzing moments in the Civil War and civil rights movement.
Many of the war’s most significant battles took place within a short drive of the White House, including First & Second Manassas (Bull Run), Antietam and Gettysburg. DC visitors can step through buildings that hosted key players and witnessed pivotal events, such as the Willard Hotel, where Lincoln stayed prior to his inauguration, the National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum, where Lincoln’s second inaugural ball took place, and Arlington National Cemetery, located on land formerly owned by Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s family.
Special events marking the 150th commemoration of the Civil War includes a major gathering of living history presenters to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the first major battle, Manassas, July 21-23, 2011.
Learn more about DC’s powerful position in the Civil War and its unique role in the civil rights movement by visiting the “Civil War to Civil Rights” website.