SHARE:

Twenty Must-See Battlefields

Buddy Secor

While all hallowed grounds are important for their role in history, the Trust has pulled together twenty of what we believe are our country’s “must-see” battlefields.

We hope you’ll be able to visit a battlefield or two (or all twenty!) this summer and reflect on what happened there and why it matters. For each of the battlefields we've included in this list, we've also provided additional resources: information about the battlefield and what happened there, itineraries to help you hit the most important sights, mobile apps to help enhance your battlefield experience, and even some virtual tours if you can’t make it to the battlefield.

Now, which battlefields have you seen? And which ones are on your list to visit this summer?

Antietam, Maryland

Matt Brant

September 17, 1862

The Battle of Antietam, considered a Union victory, remains the bloodiest one-day battle in American military history, leaving a total of 22,720 soldiers dead, wounded, or missing.

Explore Antietam

Civil War  |  Battlefield

Antietam Battlefield

Widely considered to be one of the most beautiful, pristine and well-preserved Civil War battlefields, Antietam is a must-see for any Civil War...
Civil War  |  Itinerary

Tour the Antietam Battlefield in One Day

If you have one day for this trip, spend it exploring the beautifully preserved Antietam National Battlefield, site of the bloodiest single day in
Civil War  |  Mobile App

Antietam Battle App

Download FREE | The Antietam Battle App® is the perfect Civil War touring partner for your exploration of the Antietam battlefield.

Chalmette, Louisiana

Buddy Secor

January 8, 1815

The U.S. achieves its greatest victory of the War of 1812 in the Battle of New Orleans, fought at Chalmette Plantation, thwarting a British effort to gain control of a key American port and elevating Major General Andrew Jackson to national fame.

Explore Chalmette & New Orleans

War of 1812  |  Battle

New Orleans

The United States achieved its greatest land victory of the War of 1812 at New Orleans. The battle thwarted a British effort to gain control of a...

Chancellorsville, Virginia

Theresa Rasmussen

April 30-May 6, 1863

In the Battle of Chancellorsville, Robert E. Lee makes the daring decision to face a force twice his size by splitting his own army into thirds, and wins a major victory for the Confederacy.

Explore Chancellorsville

Civil War  |  Battlefield

Chancellorsville Battlefield

While much of the landscape around Chancellorsville has changed since 1863, it is still possible to visit and explore this great Civil War battlefield...
Civil War  |  Mobile App

Chancellorsville Battle App

Download FREE | The Chancellorsville Battle App® is the perfect Civil War touring partner for your exploration of the Chancellorsville battlefield.

Charleston, South Carolina

Mark Thornberry

Fort Moultrie & Fort Sumter

On June 28, 1776, Continental soldiers fighting from a rudimentary fort (later named Fort Moultrie) on Sullivan’s Island withstood an attack by nine Royal Navy warships, saving Charleston from British occupation. Nearly 85 years later, on April 12, 1861, Confederate forces fired on Fort Sumter, beginning the Civil War. 

Explore Charleston

Civil War  |  Fort

Fort Moultrie

Sullivan's Island, South Carolina | Fort Moultrie's history covers more that 220 years of seacoast defense, from the first decisive victory in the...
Civil War  |  Battle

Fort Sumter

Early in the morning of April 12, 1861, Confederate guns around Charleston Harbor opened fire on Fort Sumter. The American Civil War was officially...

Chickamauga, Georgia

Randall Pennington

September 18-20, 1863

The South’s Army of Tennessee defeats a Union force in the Battle of Chickamauga after the Rebels had been pushed out of Chattanooga earlier that month. It was the second bloodiest battle of the Civil War, ranking only behind Gettysburg.

Explore Chickamauga

Civil War  |  Battlefield

Chickamauga Battlefield

Located in the northwest corner of Georgia at the foot of Lookout Mountain, Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park offers visitors...
Civil War  |  Itinerary

Tour the Chickamauga Battlefield in One Day

If you have one day for your trip, spend it exploring the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park and the nearby historic sites to learn
Civil War  |  Virtual Tour

Chickamauga Virtual Tour

Discover the Chickamauga National Battlefield in 360° with our interactive virtual tour – featuring clickable tour points, pictures and much more.

Cowpens, South Carolina

Brian Keeley Photography

January 17, 1781

American troops rout British forces in what is now Spartanburg County. The battle marks a turning point for the Americans in the Revolutionary War’s Southern Campaign.  

Explore Cowpens

Rev War  |  Battle

Cowpens

A stunning example of military prowess and skilled leadership, the Battle of Cowpens near Chesnee, South Carolina, was a critical American victory in...
Rev War  |  Virtual Tour

Cowpens Virtual Tour

Discover Cowpens National Battlefield in 360° with our interactive virtual tour – featuring clickable tour points, pictures and much more.

Fort McHenry, Maryland

Jim Powers

September 12-14, 1814

U.S. soldiers at Baltimore’s Fort McHenry valiantly withstand 25 hours of British bombardment during the Battle of Baltimore, inspiring Francis Scott Key to pen “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Explore Fort McHenry

War of 1812  |  Battle

Fort McHenry

The failed bombardment of Fort McHenry forced the British to abandon their land assault on the crucial port city of Baltimore. This British defeat was...
War of 1812  |  Itinerary

Tour War of 1812 Baltimore in One Day

The city of Baltimore served as the sight for perhaps the most culturally significant battle in American History. Not only did it turn the British
War of 1812  |  Battlefield

Fort McHenry Battlefield

The birthplace of the Star Spangled Banner, Fort McHenry still stands as it did when "the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof...

Fredericksburg, Virginia

December 11-15, 1862

General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia repulses a series of attacks by the Union’s Army of the Potomac in what turns out to be one of the most decisive losses for the Union in the war.

Explore Fredericksburg

Civil War  |  Article

10 Facts: Fredericksburg

The Battle of Fredericksburg was arguably the largest battle of the war, and one of the most embarrassing Union defeats. The details of why the
Civil War  |  Mobile App

Fredericksburg Battle App

Download FREE | The Fredericksburg Battle App® is the perfect touring partner for your exploration of the Fredericksburg battlefield.

Gaines' Mill & Cold Harbor

Rob Shenk

June 1862 & June 1864

Two major Civil War battles — Gaines’ Mill and Cold Harbor — take place on the same land outside Richmond. All told, the fighting involves some 261,230 Union and Confederate soldiers with casualty count totals nearing 33,000 killed, wounded, or missing.

Explore Gaines' Mill & Cold Harbor

Civil War  |  Battlefield

Gaines' Mill Battlefield

Though significant portions of pristine battlefield land remain in private hands, the Richmond National Battlefield Park owns 60 acres of this large...
Civil War  |  Battlefield

Cold Harbor Battlefield

The Cold Harbor Battlefield is roughly 12 miles from Richmond and is a part of the Richmond National Battlefield Park. The 50-acre park includes a...
Civil War  |  Itinerary

Make Some History This Weekend in Richmond

For a week or a weekend, a trip to the Richmond area means great food, shopping, and entertainment. Use our travel itinerary to plan your next trip —...

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Jeff Palmer

July 1-3, 1863

At the Battle of Gettysburg, Union forces turn back a Confederate invasion into the North, marking a turning point in the Civil War, though at a cost of more than 51,000 total casualties.

Explore Gettysburg

Civil War  |  Battlefield

Gettysburg Battlefield

The Gettysburg National Military Park is home to some of the most historic and scenic Civil War sites.
Civil War  |  Itinerary

Make Some History This Weekend in Gettysburg

For a day trip or a long weekend, Gettysburg means wonderful food, shopping, and of course history, on America’s greatest battleground and site of...
Civil War  |  Mobile App

Gettysburg AR Experience

Download FREE | Step onto the Gettysburg AR Experience and witness history as it happened through virtual recreations and augmented reality technology

Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia

Noel Kline

September 12-15, 1862

Confederate General “Stonewall” Jackson successfully attacks the vital Union garrison at Harper’s Ferry. In the largest Union surrender of the Civil War, Jackson captures 73 artillery pieces, 13,000 rifles, and more than 12,000 men.

Explore Harpers Ferry

Civil War  |  Battlefield

Harpers Ferry Battlefield

Nestled beneath Maryland, Bolivar, and Loudoun Heights at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers, the town of Harpers Ferry is a place...
Civil War  |  Virtual Tour

Harpers Ferry Virtual Tour

Discover Harpers Ferry in 360° with our interactive virtual tour – featuring clickable tour points, pictures and much more.

Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia

Brian Keeley Photography

June 27, 1864

Union Major General William T. Sherman launches his biggest frontal assault against the Confederate Army of Tennessee. Though a tactical defeat for Union forces, the battle fails to stop Sherman’s advance on Atlanta.

Explore Kennesaw Mountain

Civil War  |  Battlefield

Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield

The 2,965 acre Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park preserves the Civil War battlefield of the Atlanta Campaign. A self-guided driving tour...
Civil War  |  Mobile App

Atlanta Battle App

Download FREE | Explore the Atlanta and North Georgia’s Civil War battlefields with the American Battlefield Trust’s free Battle App.

Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts

Youvathana Sok

April 19, 1775

The Revolutionary War begins with the “shot heard round the world” at the Battles of Lexington and Concord when colonial militiamen engage a Redcoat column on the Lexington town green.  

Explore Lexington and Concord

Rev War  |  Battlefield

Lexington and Concord Battlefields

Minute Man National Historic Park maintains and interprets multiple sites associated with the first day of fighting of the American Revolution.

Manassas, Virginia

July 1861 & August 1862

The Federal supply base of Manassas is the site of the First Battle of Bull Run, the first major land battle of the Civil War, and the Second Battle of Bull Run, which led to Lee’s first invasion of the North.

Explore Manassas

Civil War  |  Opportunity

Protect Critical Acres at Manassas

Please make your most generous gift today to protect 3.5 critical acres near the Sudley Church at the Manassas National Battlefield Park for...
Civil War  |  Battlefield

Second Manassas Battlefield

While the Bull Run (First Manassas) battlefield often gets the lion's share of visitor interest, the Second Manassas battlefield is filled with...
Civil War  |  Itinerary

Tour Manassas Battlefield Sites in One Day

Fought on July 21, 1861, First Manassas convinced both sides that the Civil War would be a long and costly struggle. Thirteen months later, the armies

Perryville, Kentucky

Daniel Kirchner

October 8, 1862

At the Battle of Perryville, the largest battle fought in Kentucky, the Union victory helps ensure the state remains in Northern hands throughout the rest of the war.

Explore Perryville

Civil War  |  Battlefield

Perryville Battlefield

The Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site, 2 miles north of Perryville, encompasses more than 890 acres of this historic Kentucky battlefield...
Civil War  |  Itinerary

Tour Civil War Kentucky in Three Days

Total Stops: 9 Total Time: 3 days Total Distance: 96-mile radius Before You Go: Print or Download this Tour Map Learn more about the Battle of

Saratoga, New York

Doug Menuez

September-October 1777

The Continental Army’s victory at the Battle of Saratoga, two crucial engagements waged 14 days apart, proves a turning point in the Revolution, convincing the French, Spanish, and Dutch to join the Patriots’ cause.

Explore Saratoga

Rev War  |  Battlefield

Saratoga Battlefield

One of the most decisive American victories in the entire Revolutionary War, the Battle of Saratoga ended British General John Burgoyne's attempt to...

Shiloh, Tennessee

Mike Talplacido

April 6-7, 1862

The Battle of Shiloh begins with a surprise attack by Confederate forces and ends as the bloodiest conflict of the Civil War up to that point. The 23,000-plus total casualties shocked North and South alike. 

Explore Shiloh

Civil War  |  Battlefield

Shiloh Battlefield

Shiloh is one of the best preserved Civil War battlefields anywhere. Within the nearly 4,000-acre Shiloh National Military Park you can visit historic...
Civil War  |  Itinerary

Tour the Shiloh Battlefield in One Day

If you have one day for a trip, spend it exploring the pristine Shiloh National Military Park, site of the first great bloodletting of the Civil War.
Civil War  |  Mobile App

Shiloh Battle App

Download FREE | Explore the Shiloh and Corinth battlefields with the American Battlefield Trust’s free Battle App™ guide.

Trenton & Princeton, New Jersey

Eric Malave

December 1776 & January 1777

General George Washington’s army wins three key battles over 10 days — the Battle of Trenton on December 26, the Battle of the Assunpink Creek (Second Trenton) on January 2, 1777, and the battle of Princeton on January 3, 1777 — reasserting control over much of New Jersey.

Explore Trenton & Princeton

Rev War  |  Battle

Trenton

After crossing the Delaware River in a treacherous storm, General George Washington’s army defeated a garrison of Hessian mercenaries at Trenton. The...
Rev War  |  Battlefield

Princeton Battlefield

Princeton Battlefield State Park, just a mile southwest of Princeton University, maintains and interprets the scene of George Washington's 1777...
Rev War  |  Itinerary

Tour the Ten Crucial Days Trail in One Day

The 10 Crucial Days refer to some of the most iconic and important moments of the American Revolution, moments that may have turned the tide in the

Vicksburg, Mississippi

Mike Talplacido

May 18-July 4, 1863

The Union army’s successful siege of the Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg, a critical supply line, gives control of the Mississippi River to the Union.

Explore Vicksburg

Civil War  |  Battlefield

Vicksburg Battlefield

Established in 1899, the Vicksburg National Military Park protects 1,728 acres of battlefield land encompassing the Union and Confederate trenches...
Civil War  |  Itinerary

Tour the Vicksburg Battlefield in One Day

Vicksburg was the culmination of one of the most brilliant military campaigns of the entire Civil War. The campaign saw an extensive use of combined
Civil War  |  Mobile App

Vicksburg Battle App

Download FREE | The Vicksburg Battle App® is the perfect Civil War touring partner for your exploration of one of the more remarkable campaigns of the

Yorktown, Virginia

Andy Backowski

September 28-October 19, 1781

In the Siege of Yorktown, a joint land and sea campaign, General George Washington entraps English troops, forcing British General Cornwallis to surrender and effectively ending the War of Independence.

Explore Yorktown

Battlefield

Yorktown Battlefield

Much of the 1862 Yorktown battlefield encompasses the 1781 battlefield of the American Revolution. Today, well preserved Union and Confederate...
Rev War  |  Mobile App

Yorktown Tour Guide

Download FREE | The Yorktown Tour Guide is the perfect companion for your visit to the historic Yorktown, Virginia.
Rev War  |  Virtual Tour

Yorktown Virtual Tour

Discover the Yorktown Battlefield in 360° with our interactive virtual tour – featuring clickable tour points, pictures and much more.