Help/suggestions for visiting Gettysburg/Antietam

Georgian183

Private
Joined
Apr 17, 2021
Hey yall. My wife and are planning a trip (good Lord willing and if the creek don't rise) to see Gettysburg and Antietam the last week of Sept. and first week in Oct. We will have a total of six days on the ground. I have already purchased a battlefield guide and map book, as I plan to do more or less what I did at Chickamauga, and actually walk as much of the battlefields as reasonably possible. With this in mind, I was planning to devote at least three whole days at Gettysburg, and if time permitted, also see Antietam. My ancestors fought on both fields, and I especially want to tour the areas they were engaged. Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!
 
Joined
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Location
Mid Hudson Valley, New York
Welcome Georgian183. You have a lot of good history to look forward to, nothing compares with being able to visit the actual sites in person. Gettysburg has been, in my opinion, improved over time and they got rid of some (but not all) of the honkytonk like the tower and have worked to restore the grounds to be closer to their 1863 appearance. Many parts of the battlefield that were heavily overgrown from time are now visible and the NPS has done a good job of it. By all means try to make some time for the Antietam National Battlefield Park and Harper's Ferry which is not far away from Sharpsburg. In 1983 I spent the day at Gettysburg on a hot July day and then drove into Maryland to see the Antietam battlefield. With all the hills and backroads in Western Maryland I had underestimated how long it would take to get there. It's not so much the amount of miles to drive but you're not on an Interstate to get there. So, I came up to the visitor center just as the head park ranger was closing up and met him as he was on his way out. I had mentioned to him that we had just come down from the Gettysburg battlefield and he said that was best that we saw Gettysburg first and that we would truly appreciate the Antietam battlefield more and he was not wrong. All ACW sites are special but Antietam is one of the most intact with so many original buildings still standing. There are monuments but it is not as cluttered as Gettysburg and not as commercial. Sharpsburg, MD has mostly avoided the heavy commercial development such as Northern Virginia has experienced and you'll get to see one of the best preserved major battlefield sites that still exist. Don't get me wrong... Gettysburg is a great experience, but Antietam is well worth your time.

Bill
 
Last edited:

infomanpa

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Location
Pennsylvania
You have chosen 2 of the best preserved battlefields in the country! And it just so happens that they are only about an hour apart.
I would suggest that you do a search on this forum and check out several threads from others who have asked a similar question. This a wealth of information posted on those threads.
 

rpkennedy

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Location
Carlisle, PA
Hey yall. My wife and are planning a trip (good Lord willing and if the creek don't rise) to see Gettysburg and Antietam the last week of Sept. and first week in Oct. We will have a total of six days on the ground. I have already purchased a battlefield guide and map book, as I plan to do more or less what I did at Chickamauga, and actually walk as much of the battlefields as reasonably possible. With this in mind, I was planning to devote at least three whole days at Gettysburg, and if time permitted, also see Antietam. My ancestors fought on both fields, and I especially want to tour the areas they were engaged. Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!

What units were they in? I may be able to give you some suggestions.

Ryan
 

Georgian183

Private
Joined
Apr 17, 2021
What units were they in? I may be able to give you some suggestions.

Ryan
50th Ga Vol. Inf; first organized under Drayton's Brigade, then Semmes Brigade under McLaws Division. I know their unit was detached to Toombs Brigade during Antietam, and helped hold Burnside's Bridge, and then fought in and around the Rose Farm and Wheatfield on the afternoon of July 2nd at Gettysburg.
 

Arioch

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Dec 24, 2010
Don't snooze on the Antietam venture...it's easy to underestimate it. 'Gettysburg' speaks for itself and is well worth it....but Antietam also has some other things folded into it. So, yes...you could spend a week by itself doing an Antietam area tour: Antietam / Sharpsburg itself, Harper's Ferry, Shepardstown, South Mountain...and the lead up to it if you'd like (following the Federal march through Middletown, Keedysville, etc...)
 

Arioch

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Dec 24, 2010
"...With all the hills and backroads in Western Maryland I had underestimated how long it would take to get there. It's not so much the amount of miles to drive but you're not on an Interstate to get there...."
Route 40 is not bad...Braddock rd...on the way out we also liked to debate where on the highway we think the Ol' general is buried...
 

lelliott19

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50th Ga Vol. Inf; first organized under Drayton's Brigade, then Semmes Brigade under McLaws Division. I know their unit was detached to Toombs Brigade during Antietam, and helped hold Burnside's Bridge, and then fought in and around the Rose Farm and Wheatfield on the afternoon of July 2nd at Gettysburg.
Well for goodness sake! Welcome aboard. We've had some really good threads about Semmes brigade at Gettysburg and i just ran across the 50th GA mentioned in conjunction with Benning at Antietam. Ill see if I can find some of those threads and tag you in them
 

Georgian183

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Apr 17, 2021
Well for goodness sake! Welcome aboard. We've had some really good threads about Semmes brigade at Gettysburg and i just ran across the 50th GA mentioned in conjunction with Benning at Antietam. Ill see if I can find some of those threads and tag you in them
Thank you very much! I did quite a bit of research back in 2019 leading up to 2020, as we had originally intended to visit Gettysburg in April of 2020.
 

lelliott19

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Thank you very much! I did quite a bit of research back in 2019 leading up to 2020, as we had originally intended to visit Gettysburg in April of 2020.
Here are some of those threads about Semmes' brigade I mentioned.
Peter McGlashan's account starts here:
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/brookes-charge-a-little-too-easy.168613/#post-2218939

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/th...ton-of-cabells-artillery.166537/#post-2170827

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/semmes-brigade.24372/#post-304287

@Tom Elmore 's list of sources on Semmes brigade at Gettysburg
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/sources-on-semmes-brigade-at-gettysburg.175379/#post-2286825
 

bankerpapaw

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Dec 26, 2007
Location
Rome, Georgia
You have chosen 2 of the best preserved battlefields in the country! And it just so happens that they are only about an hour apart.
I would suggest that you do a search on this forum and check out several threads from others who have asked a similar question. This a wealth of information posted on those threads.
Wow!!! I didn't realize that Gettysburg and Antietam were that close to each other.
 
Joined
Aug 1, 2020
Location
Mid Hudson Valley, New York
Route 40 is not bad...Braddock rd...on the way out we also liked to debate where on the highway we think the Ol' general is buried...
Thanks Arioch, it was a scenic ride and I'd be glad to do it again. Back then we had the very good Rand McNally road atlases to go by and being a youngster with a full tank of gas I'd probably thought that I could make the trip more quickly. I'm glad that I got to walk those grounds, it was unforgettable. Please tell me more about the old General.

Bill
 

dsheehan

Cadet
Joined
Sep 16, 2020
Hey yall. My wife and are planning a trip (good Lord willing and if the creek don't rise) to see Gettysburg and Antietam the last week of Sept. and first week in Oct. We will have a total of six days on the ground. I have already purchased a battlefield guide and map book, as I plan to do more or less what I did at Chickamauga, and actually walk as much of the battlefields as reasonably possible. With this in mind, I was planning to devote at least three whole days at Gettysburg, and if time permitted, also see Antietam. My ancestors fought on both fields, and I especially want to tour the areas they were engaged. Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!
It was of great use to my wife and I to download the battlefield apps for each site. It tells you where you are ant the history of most every significant point on each battlefield.
 

Arioch

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Joined
Dec 24, 2010
"...Please tell me more about the old General."
General Braddock...British General who promised Washington his British Army commission when he met up with the Fort Necessity (French & Indian War) survivors and heard Washington's report (and commission request).

Braddock then died during that retreat, and Washington, supposedly, had him buried in the middle of the road...the thinking being that the native Indians would not think of the middle of the road and desecrate the grave (or, at least that is how I have always heard the story).

Anyway,...Washington gets the expedition back to headquarters and makes his report...including Braddocks' promise of a royal army commission....The commanding British officer just laughed at Washington (bumpkin colonial)....Washington never forgot this humiliation...and powered his disdain and aggressiveness vs. the British in the coming independence war 10 years later.
 

GwilymT

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 20, 2018
Location
Pittsburgh
General Braddock...British General who promised Washington his British Army commission when he met up with the Fort Necessity (French & Indian War) survivors and heard Washington's report (and commission request).

Braddock then died during that retreat, and Washington, supposedly, had him buried in the middle of the road...the thinking being that the native Indians would not think of the middle of the road and desecrate the grave (or, at least that is how I have always heard the story).

Anyway,...Washington gets the expedition back to headquarters and makes his report...including Braddocks' promise of a royal army commission....The commanding British officer just laughed at Washington (bumpkin colonial)....Washington never forgot this humiliation...and powered his disdain and aggressiveness vs. the British in the coming independence war 10 years later.
What is now Rt 40 or the “National Road” is really the path that Braddock and his expedition took & built towards what is now Pittsburgh PA in their effort to wrest the area from French control. Washington’s first endeavor ended in failure, surrendering to the French and their Native allies at Ft. Necessity which is just off of the National Road in Fayette County. Braddock’s expedition was then undertaken to gain the area back. This expedition met with failure when they made contact with French and Native forces just a few miles outside of what is today Pittsburgh. They were soundly defeated at the “Battle of the Monongahela” where General Braddock was mortally wounded. Braddock died during the retreat and the local legend goes that he was buried in the road to hide the gravesite as @Arioch mentioned. Oddly enough, Braddock’s remains were identified and his gravesite is marked just off the road he built, Braddock’s Road-National Road-Rt 40. It’s quite near Ft Necessity itself which must be one of those crazy coincidences of history.

Just outside of Pittsburgh is Braddock Township, in which is the site of the “Battle of the Monongahela”. The main road into the city from this location is Braddock Avenu, a road the General would never travel.

It took the British/Colonials a third try to take the area which started the whole thing. Eventually the did force the French from the “Forks of the Ohio” and built a massive fort on the site- Fort Pitt, this of course became Pittsburgh. Weirdly, a main thoroughfare through downtown Pittsburgh is Grant Street. However, this Street takes its name not from General Grant, but from Major Grant of his majesty’s army. It was Grant who finally wrested the area from the French.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Grant_(British_Army_officer,_born_1720)
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Pitt_(Pennsylvania)
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Braddock_Expedition
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Monongahela
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Braddock_Road_(Braddock_expedition)
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Necessity_National_Battlefield

General Braddock’s Grave:

1619967983383.jpeg


It’s always amazed me that a huge international conflict was started by a young man from Virginia over control of a wilderness confluence of rivers in what is now Pittsburgh. Without this young man going on this fool’s errand then there would be no United States as we know it.
 
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Location
Mid Hudson Valley, New York
Wow!!! I didn't realize that Gettysburg and Antietam were that close to each other.

General Braddock...British General who promised Washington his British Army commission when he met up with the Fort Necessity (French & Indian War) survivors and heard Washington's report (and commission request).

Braddock then died during that retreat, and Washington, supposedly, had him buried in the middle of the road...the thinking being that the native Indians would not think of the middle of the road and desecrate the grave (or, at least that is how I have always heard the story).

Anyway,...Washington gets the expedition back to headquarters and makes his report...including Braddocks' promise of a royal army commission....The commanding British officer just laughed at Washington (bumpkin colonial)....Washington never forgot this humiliation...and powered his disdain and aggressiveness vs. the British in the coming independence war 10 years later.
Thanks Arioch, great story.
 
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