General Recommendations on Civil War Travel!

Nathanb1

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Retired Moderator
Joined
Dec 31, 2009
Location
Smack dab in the heart of Texas
We seem to repeat some things over and over, and here are a few of my favorite tips....I hope the rest of you "regulars" will add some basic goodies that every ACW traveler can use, no matter where they may be headed.

1) Check out the older threads on this particular forum....you will find tons of great info and ideas within the threads. You can use the search and limit results, or simple scroll through the titles!

2) If one is available for "your" battlefield trip, get a Trailhead Graphics map ahead of time and study it well. It's idiot proof (I am the idiot), almost bulletproof (withstands 8th graders nicely!) and beautifully done.

3) Be sure to go to civilwar.org (Civil War Trust) for battlefield apps, animated maps, travel links and just general, great, well-organized info that you can search by battlefield or state. And they even have lesson plans for the kids if you're THAT kind of parent or grandparent. This is also a great way to prepare.

4) Don't forget that the National Park Service has great web pages for every battlefield, again with maps, links, critical info, and much more (as well as great photos).

5) And ask us! We love questions. As our guru Ole says, someone will know. You might need to be patient, especially this summer when everyone except me :nah disagree: will be out of pocket at Gettysburg or another 150th....but someone will find an answer for you.

Happy traveling!
 

James N.

Colonel
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Asst. Regtl. Quartermaster Antietam 2021
Joined
Feb 23, 2013
Location
East Texas
A few basic tips I'd add to the above when you're actually "on the road":

Don't be bashful, especially at National Parks or state historic sites; most of the rangers or park personnel will be happy to help you. On my recent trip to Chickamauga, the historian made me many copies of maps and pages about related areas well outside the park I was interested in. Also, it's the best way to discover other lesser-known places that may be nearby.

Avoid Interstate highways whenever possible - state historical markers, historic houses, etc. aren't on them!

Remember to take pictures - lots of them! I took with me a relatively new digital camera with lots of "memory" and got over 200; I easily could've taken more, but I didn't want it to be TOO unwieldy to deal with when I got back.
 

wayne jackson

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 30, 2008
Location
humble,texas
We seem to repeat some things over and over, and here are a few of my favorite tips....I hope the rest of you "regulars" will add some basic goodies that every ACW traveler can use, no matter where they may be headed.

1) Check out the older threads on this particular forum....you will find tons of great info and ideas within the threads. You can use the search and limit results, or simple scroll through the titles!

2) If one is available for "your" battlefield trip, get a Trailhead Graphics map ahead of time and study it well. It's idiot proof (I am the idiot), almost bulletproof (withstands 8th graders nicely!) and beautifully done.

3) Be sure to go to civilwar.org (Civil War Trust) for battlefield apps, animated maps, travel links and just general, great, well-organized info that you can search by battlefield or state. And they even have lesson plans for the kids if you're THAT kind of parent or grandparent. This is also a great way to prepare.

4) Don't forget that the National Park Service has great web pages for every battlefield, again with maps, links, critical info, and much more (as well as great photos).

5) And ask us! We love questions. As our guru Ole says, someone will know. You might need to be patient, especially this summer when everyone except me :nah disagree: will be out of pocket at Gettysburg or another 150th....but someone will find an answer for you.

Happy traveling!
i thought you were cooking us up a trip
 

John Davison

Retired User
Joined
Feb 28, 2014
Location
Guffin Bay, NY
We seem to repeat some things over and over, and here are a few of my favorite tips....I hope the rest of you "regulars" will add some basic goodies that every ACW traveler can use, no matter where they may be headed.

1) Check out the older threads on this particular forum....you will find tons of great info and ideas within the threads. You can use the search and limit results, or simple scroll through the titles!

2) If one is available for "your" battlefield trip, get a Trailhead Graphics map ahead of time and study it well. It's idiot proof (I am the idiot), almost bulletproof (withstands 8th graders nicely!) and beautifully done.

3) Be sure to go to civilwar.org (Civil War Trust) for battlefield apps, animated maps, travel links and just general, great, well-organized info that you can search by battlefield or state. And they even have lesson plans for the kids if you're THAT kind of parent or grandparent. This is also a great way to prepare.

4) Don't forget that the National Park Service has great web pages for every battlefield, again with maps, links, critical info, and much more (as well as great photos).

5) And ask us! We love questions. As our guru Ole says, someone will know. You might need to be patient, especially this summer when everyone except me :nah disagree: will be out of pocket at Gettysburg or another 150th....but someone will find an answer for you.

Happy traveling!
Thanks for the leads and advise. My wife and I plan on hitting the road next year working our way from upstate NY South, with a side trip to Indiana ( my home state) to dig up as much info on the 52nd Indiana Infantry Regiment, My GGrandads regiment. Hasn't been very well documented --
 

ole

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Retired Moderator
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Near Kankakee
Thanks for the leads and advise. My wife and I plan on hitting the road next year working our way from upstate NY South, with a side trip to Indiana ( my home state) to dig up as much info on the 52nd Indiana Infantry Regiment, My GGrandads regiment. Hasn't been very well documented --
This is old and you've probably been home for some time now, but ask @richard for all things Indiana.
 

James N.

Colonel
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Asst. Regtl. Quartermaster Antietam 2021
Joined
Feb 23, 2013
Location
East Texas
Thanks to all for the sage advice! Reading a synopsis or book about the history of the event prior to your trip may be helpful. Understanding a bit of what happened at the site may help one visualize the events when visiting in person.

For several years back in the 90's this was the general "plan" I observed when visiting Revolutionary War battlefields but it could eeasily appily to the Civil War as well. The years 1995 - 2001 marked the 220th anniversary of the Revolution and I began to take what I term flying vacations - both because of part of the mode of travel as well as the speed I generally made once back on the ground - from here in North/East Texas (where absolutely nothing worthwhile ever happened) "back east". My trips generally concentrated on particular campaigns like Lexington-Concord-Bunker Hill; Forts Ticonderoga, William Henry, and Crown Point-Saratoga-Bennington; or like this year in Sept., Brandywine-Paoli-Germantown-Valley Forge. Back then I read things like Richard Ketchum's Saratoga or 1777 - Year of the Hangman before heading out and always carried with me Sol Stember's and Mark M. Boatner's wonderful guidebooks to finding and touring remote French-and-Indian and Revolutionary War locations.
 

MRB1863

Major
Forum Host
Joined
Dec 6, 2014
Location
Lemoyne, PA (35 miles N. of Gettysburg)
For several years back in the 90's this was the general "plan" I observed when visiting Revolutionary War battlefields but it could eeasily appily to the Civil War as well.
I have found this method helpful for researching scores of sites! In fact, I have used the "research, then visit" strategy dozens of times alone in nearby Gettysburg. It works for me since during the research, I also print maps showing land features and troop movements. Take them along on your next adventure, it may work well for you too!
 

dlavin

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jun 1, 2015
Location
North Balt Co., MD
One of the things I have found helpful is asking the rangers for places/stops/trails not found on nps websites or on materials that they give out. So for me this applied for a return visit to Antietam, and probably would apply when you either are interested in a particular section of a battle or during a return trip or have lots of time. If you are at a battlefield for a first time and want to take everything in then the guided tours are great, but if you want to go at it alone or away from where everyone else is being pointed, it is best to get to know the ranger for a few minutes, and they are very helpful with markers or areas not on the guided tours.
 

bdtex

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I know this thread is pinned,but it hasn't had any activity in awhile. I've utilized all suggestions made in this thread except this one: " drink some smart whiskey and tekillya". :D

"no, no, no, no, i don't drink it no more,
I'm tired of waking up on the floor."

I'd like to add 2 suggestions that are helpful to me on my tours:

1. This website has been very helpful to me. On my recent visit to Arkansas,Mississippi and Tennessee,I visited a half-dozen places I found on this site:

http://www.civilwartraveler.com/

2. Almost all counties have a historical society and their members are just like the members of this forum. No doubt some of our forum members also belong to historical societies. They love to share information and show people the local sites,artifacts etc. whenever possible. That's been my experience anyway. These local folks know things/places etc. that are not easily searchable using general sources too. The municipal and county visitor centers are often staffed by historical society members too. During my recent visit to Tennessee,I visited Pulaski,Columbia,Franklin and Murfreesboro,all of which are county seats. Me and my travelling companion stopped at the visitor center in each of those cities and told the staffers what our trip was about and picked up a wealth of local information. We didn't have time to visit all the places. The makings of another trip or 3 are already there.
 

Jimklag

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Mar 3, 2017
Location
Chicagoland
We seem to repeat some things over and over, and here are a few of my favorite tips....I hope the rest of you "regulars" will add some basic goodies that every ACW traveler can use, no matter where they may be headed.

1) Check out the older threads on this particular forum....you will find tons of great info and ideas within the threads. You can use the search and limit results, or simple scroll through the titles!

2) If one is available for "your" battlefield trip, get a Trailhead Graphics map ahead of time and study it well. It's idiot proof (I am the idiot), almost bulletproof (withstands 8th graders nicely!) and beautifully done.

3) Be sure to go to civilwar.org (Civil War Trust) for battlefield apps, animated maps, travel links and just general, great, well-organized info that you can search by battlefield or state. And they even have lesson plans for the kids if you're THAT kind of parent or grandparent. This is also a great way to prepare.

4) Don't forget that the National Park Service has great web pages for every battlefield, again with maps, links, critical info, and much more (as well as great photos).

5) And ask us! We love questions. As our guru Ole says, someone will know. You might need to be patient, especially this summer when everyone except me :nah disagree: will be out of pocket at Gettysburg or another 150th....but someone will find an answer for you.

Happy traveling!
If you're visiting one of the big, major battlefields, take the self-guided driving tour to get oriented. Trailhead Graphics makes what they call "Expedition Guides" that have cd's you can plug into your car's player and follow from stop to stop. These are very helpful, just to get your bearings at the park. Most smaller battlefields will also have printed self-guided tours you can follow.
 
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