Civil War Battlefields Everyone Should Visit

Photo of author

The Civil War is one of the darkest and most tragic chapters in our nation’s history. Even today, the war and its fallout still influence our culture and politics. One of the best ways to learn about the Civil War and reflect upon it is to visit battlefields where Union and Confederacy forces fought. Most are now preserved and maintained by the National Park Service as National Military Parks. Following are 12 everyone should visit.

1. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Image Credit:

Fought over three days (July 1-3) in 1863, the Battle of Gettysburg claimed over 51,000 casualties, more than any other Civil War Battle. It was the turning point in the war as Union forces stopped the advance of Robert E. Lee’s army, and it was the site of Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address. Although the war would rage on for 2 more years, the Confederacy was almost always on its heels after Gettysburg.

2. Antietam, Maryland

Antietam National battlefield in Maryland
Image Credit:

In 1862, Lee made his first invasion of the North, and Antietam is where General George McClellan stopped him. It was the bloodiest single-day battle of the war, with more than 23,000 casualties.

3. Vicksburg, Mississippi

Vicksburg Civil War
Image Credit: Chad Robertson Media/shutterstock

The Battle of Vicksburg, fought from May to July 1863, was another major turning point in the war. By winning the battle, the Union took control of the Mississippi River, dealing a blow to the Confederacy’s supply chains.

4. Chickamauga, Tennessee

Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park - Tennessee
Image Credit:

The Battles of Chickamauga and Chattanooga are both preserved in the same park. At Chickamauga, which took place over 2 days in September 1863, the casualties amounted to the second-most of any battle in the war.

5. Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
Image Credit: Pavone

After the victory at Chickamauga, the Union set its sights next on Chattanooga, an important city during the war. Generals Grant and Sherman laid siege to the city, and their eventual victory paved the way for Sherman’s march to Atlanta.

6. Petersburg, Virginia

Petersburg, Virginia
Image Credit:

During the 1864-65 siege of this city not far south of Richmond, capital of the Confederacy, Grant fatally crippled Lee’s forces. After that, the end was just a matter of time.

7. Bull Run/Manassas, Virginia

Manassas National Battlefield Park
Image Credit:

Manassas National Battlefield Park commemorates the First Battle and Second Battle of Bull Run. The first one was in 1861 and was the first major conflict of the war, with the Confederates winning. The Confederacy won the second one as well, in 1862. Nearly 20,000 people died there over 3 days of battle.

8. Shiloh, Tennessee

Shiloh National Battlefield
Image Credit: Wylie

In 1862, Union troops on the Tennessee River landed here, and the surprise attack they sustained was one of the first major battles in the Western theater. Ultimately, Grant prevailed in this bloody battle that saw over 23,000 casualties in 2 days.

9. Fredericksburg, Virginia

Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park
Image Credit:

Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park preserves the sites of 4 battles, which include this one and the next two on this list. Fought over 4 days in December 1862, the Battle of Fredericksburg was a Confederate victory that claimed about 17,000 lives.

10. Chancellorsville, Virginia

Chancellorsville Civil War Memorial
Image Credit: EWY Media/Shutterstock

The Battle of Chancellorsville was another 4-day struggle, this time in May 1863, that the Confederates won. However, it’s probably best known as the place where famed Confederate General “Stonewall” Jackson died, accidentally shot by his own men. Jackson didn’t die during the battle itself; he died 8 days later from pneumonia and other complications stemming from his wounds.

11. Wilderness, Virginia

James River in Virginia
Image Credit:

The battle here lasted for 3 days in May 1864. Although the battle itself was inconclusive, it’s notable for, aside from its heavy casualty counts, as the beginning of Grant’s Overland Campaign, a period of combat and maneuvers that lasted around 40 days and spanned the area between the Rapidan and James Rivers.

12. Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia

Potomac river from Harpers Ferry ,West Virginia, USA.
Image Credit: Joe

One of the most famous Civil War towns, Harper’s Ferry had strategic importance by virtue of sitting at the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers. Control of the town changed hands 14 times during the war. Harper’s Ferry is also famous for being the place where abolitionist John Brown staged a raid during the pre-war years in hopes of starting a slave rebellion.

Facts About the “Greatest Generation” That Prove How Much We Owe Them

old man part of the greatest generation
Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

Every generation leaves its mark on history, but the Greatest Generation—those who faced the challenges of the early 20th century head-on—did more than just that. They carved out the world as we know it today. We owe them a lot, not just for their courage and resilience but for setting a precedent that still guides us when dealing with life’s obstacles.

Facts About the “Greatest Generation” That Prove How Much We Owe Them

Facts About the Oregon Trail That Prove Most of Us Would Have Never Made It

covered wagon
Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

Imagine embarking on a journey spanning 2,000 grueling miles, filled with treacherous river crossings, food rationing, relentless weather, and the constant threat of disease. Welcome to the life of a pioneer on the Oregon Trail!

Facts About the Oregon Trail That Prove Most of Us Would Have Never Made It

Could You Have Done What Lewis and Clark Did? Probably Not and Here’s Why

Lewis and Clark 2- DP
Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

Lots of people are into hiking, although very few have the stamina to do what Lewis and Clark did. Can you even imagine making an 8,000-mile cross-country trek into unchartered territory? Take a minute to explore these 12 riveting realities of the Lewis and Clark expedition that will leave you questioning your own survival skills.

Could You Have Done What Lewis and Clark Did? Probably Not and Here’s Why

Incredible Tales of Survival and the Movies That Brought Them to Life

scene from In the Heart of the Sea
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

These stories feature various aspects of human survival, from braving the elements and enduring isolation to overcoming unexpected disasters. Each of these tales provides a unique perspective on the indomitable human spirit and our will to survive against all odds. So captivating are these true stories that they’ve even inspired filmmakers to bring them to life on the big screen.

Incredible Tales of Survival and the Movies That Brought Them to Life

15 Fascinating Facts About Famous Landmarks Hardly Anyone Knows

man at great wall of china -
Image Credit: Denise Andersen/Shutterstock

There are countless iconic landmarks that dot the globe, each with its own unique story and significance. However, even the most famous of these landmarks harbor secrets and fascinating facts that are often overlooked. These 15 fascinating facts remind us that there’s always more to discover about the world’s most famous landmarks, no matter how well-known they may seem.

+ posts

Robert Sihler is an educator, freelance writer, and rock climbing guide and instructor living with his family in Driftwood, Texas. In his spare time, he enjoys reading fiction, streaming films, completing crossword puzzles, and rock climbing. When he goes on vacation, he likes to visit the mountains of the West and climb remote, obscure peaks that have seen few or no prior ascents.