6 Civil War Battlefields Near Washington, DC

Learn About the Capital Region's Civil War Heritage

USA, Pennsylvania, Gettysburg, Battle of Gettysburg, statue of soldier
••• Battle of Gettysburg. Walter Bibikow / Getty Images

Six Civil War battlefields are located near Washington, DC. They are beautiful historic sites to visit and pay tribute to American war heroes. The capital region was critical in the development of the war, not only as home to the federal government, but also because of its close proximity to the borders of the north and south. The following battlefields are easy places to plan a day trip and experience the region's Civil War heritage. Plan a visit and explore the visitor center, view an introductory film, take a self-guided tour or join a park ranger for an informative talk.

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    Antietam Battle Field
    ••• Courtesy of the Maryland Office of Tourism
    Sharpsburg, Maryland. Located 70 miles north of Washington, DC. The Battle of Antietam was the first invasion by the Confederate Army into the North during the Civil War. In just one day, 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing. Take a self-guided 8 1/2 mile auto tour or hike through the battlefield. Regularly scheduled events are scheduled throughout the year. The new Pry House Field Hospital Museum features exhibits relating to the care of wounded.
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    Bristoe Station Battlefield Heritage Park

    Bristoe Station Battlefied
    ••• Emw/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0
    Bristow, Virginia. Prince William County's newest Civil War Battlefield Park opened to the public in October 2007. The 127-acre park features interpretive signs, a pond and nearly three-miles of walking and equestrian trails through scenic woods, leading up to 203 mostly unmarked gravesites of Confederate soldiers.
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    Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Park
    ••• Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Park. Courtesy of the National Park Service

    Located 55+ miles southwest of Washington, DC. There are four Civil War battlefields in Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania Counties in Northern, Virginia: Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Wilderness and Spotsylvania. Driving tours and walking trails are available through each battlefield. It is suggested to start your day at the Visitor Centers at the Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville Battlefields to gather information, maps and directions. Guided tours and special events are scheduled seasonally. Read more about visiting Fredericksburg, VA.

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    USA, Pennsylvania, Gettysburg, Battle of Gettysburg, statue of soldier
    ••• Walter Bibikow / Getty Images

    Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Located 80 miles north of Washington, DC. The Battle of Gettysburg was a turning point of the Civil War during which 51,000 soldiers were killed, wounded, or captured over a three-day period. This important historic site attracts visitors from all over the country to participate in a wide variety of activities including walking and driving tours, campfire programs, living history demonstrations, Junior Ranger programs and specialized group tours. A new Museum and Visitor Center and Cyclorama Gallery opened in 2008. The historic town offers a wide range of activities beyond the battlefield. Read more about visiting Gettysburg. 

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    Manassas National Battlefield Park
    ••• Manassas National Battlefield Park. Rachel Cooper

    Manassas, Virginia. Located 32 miles west of Washington, DC. The 5000-acre park preserves the site of the First and Second Battles of Manassas during the Civil War. The Henry Hill Visitors Center features a 45-minute orientation film and a museum exhibiting civil war era uniforms, weapons and artifacts. The park offers a variety of activities, scenic vistas, and walking trails. As home to numerous bird species, Manassas National Battlefield Park has recently been named as an important birding site by the National Audobon Society.

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    Monocacy National Battlefield
    ••• Monocacy National Battlefield. Courtesy of Tourism Council of Frederick County, Inc.
    Frederick, Maryland. Located 41 miles northwest of Washington, DC. The Battle of Monocacy was the last time that the Confederacy invaded the North during the Civil War. This battle is important to our region's history because it saved Washington, DC from attack. The Visitor Center features electronic maps, historical artifacts and interpretive displays of the battle. A variety of programs are offered by rangers and volunteers. There is a 5-stop self-guided auto tour and several walking trails.