14 Days/13 Nights – Gateway: Washington

1 & 2: Washington, DC

Welcome to America’s capital, Washington DC! This cosmopolitan city is packed with famous sights, free attractions and is home to some of the world’s best-known museums and galleries, including the Smithsonian Institution. Combine this with hip new restaurants and bars, stunning hotels, great nightlife, charming neighborhoods and terrific shopping.

2 Nights Washington, DC.

3: Manassas, VA (32mi/52 km)

The “First Battle of Bull Run” (July 1861), as it was known to the North, or “First Manassas”  was the first major land battle of the Civil War and it was unique in that neither of the opposing generals had ever exercised high command in combat before. Just over a year later the “Second Manassas” battle under the command of General Robert E. Lee resulted on one of Lee’s most decisive victories. Visit the National Battlefield Park where, at the Visitors Center, a 45 minute film covers both battles. The park offers a wide array of activities, scenic vistas, historic sites and walking trails. Pick up a park brochure, map, trail guides and check out the daily schedule of interpretive programs

1 Night Manassas, VA

4 & 5: Fredericksburg & Chancellorsville, VA (40 mi/64 km)

The Battle of Fredericksburg (December 1862) would result in a stunning defeat for the Union. Confederate Robert E. Lee suffered roughly 5,000 casualties but inflicted nearly 13,000 on his opponent, General Ambrose Burnside. A driving tour and several walking trails provide access to key spots on the Fredericksburg battlefield. At the Battle of Chancellorsville (May 1863), 11 miles away, a series of controversial events defined this crucial battle, including General Robert E. Lee’s radical decision to divide his small army–a violation of basic military rules–sending Stonewall Jackson on his famous march around the Union army flank. Jackson was mortally wounded, but this was considered one of Lee’s greatest victories. A visitor center contains exhibits, 22-minute movie, seasonal walking tours, and a bookstore to help orient visitors to the battlefield.

2 nights Fredericksburg, VA

6, 7 & 8: Richmond & Appomattox VA(58mi/93 km)

Named the Capital of the Confederacy, Richmond remains one of the most handsome capitals in the south. The American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar is the gateway to Civil War travel and is a must stop for the Civil War traveler. Take a guided tour of the White House of the Confederacy, home to Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his family throughout the war. At the central Virginia historical town of Appomattox (95 miles away), General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant to end the Civil War. Visit the historic McLean House where the Civil War was officially ended in 1865. The surrounding National Historical Park commemorates the end of the Civil War, and the walking tour allows visitors to explore the historical buildings as they were in 1865.

3 nights Richmond, VA

9 & 10: The Shenandoah Valley (125mi/200 km)

Known as “Virginia’s Crowning Glory”, the scenic Shenandoah Valley was where Stonewall Jackson campaigned in 1862 and, in 1864, where the armies of Union general Philip H. Sheridan and Confederate general Jubal A. Early contended for immense stakes. Spend a day touring the valley and the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District

2 nights Front Royal (or Strasburg)

11: To Harper’s Ferry, Antietam & Frederick, MD (63 mi/101 km)

Travel to Harper’s Ferry in 1859, John Brown set in motion events that led directly to the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861. Then to Antietam where at dawn September 17 1863, Union forces mounted a powerful assault on Lee’s left flank that began the single bloodiest day in American military history. At the National Battlefield Park view the 26-minute introductory film “Antietam Visit” and take the self-guided 8 1/2 mile auto tour through the battlefield. Spend the night in nearby Frederick.

1 night Frederick, MD

2 & 13: Gettysburg, PA (38 mi/61 km)

In July of 1863, General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia of 75,000 men and the 97,000 man Union Army of the Potomac under General George G. Meade met, by chance, a battle commenced that would rank supreme among the more than 2,000 land engagements of the Civil War. Although the Battle of Gettysburg did not end the war, nor did it attain any major war aim for the North or the South, it remains the great battle of the war. Begin your visit to Gettysburg National Military Park at the Gettysburg Museum and Visitor Center. Understand the sacrifice of Gettysburg with the film, “A New Birth of Freedom” and the fury of battle with the Gettysburg Cyclorama. This is the place to start your visit and get informed on how to tour the battlefield park.

2 nights Gettysburg, PA

14: Washington/Homeward Journey (87 mi/140 km)

Travel back to Washington for and your homeward flight or perhaps drive to New York for a stay in the “Big Apple”

U.S. Capitol Ligts
Big Bus Tours Washington, DC
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