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Civil War
Itinerary

Tour Gettysburg Battlefield Sites in Three Days

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In three days, you will be able to cover the area very well. You can chose to spend as much or as little time as you like at the various sites, you can also skip or add sites to fit your needs. No matter what, make sure you spend ample time at the Gettysburg Battlefield.

Total Stops: 10

Total Time: 3 Days

Total Distance: 40 Mile Radius

Before You Go:

Stop #1: Gettysburg National Military Park

Time: 1 Day or longer

Details: https://www.nps.gov/anti/index.htm

What To Do:

  • Start at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center:
    • Find out what Ranger Programs are scheduled for that day.
    • View the film, A New Birth of Freedom, and see the Cyclorama. A ticket for the film includes the Cyclorama, after the film, you will go immediately into the Cyclorama.
    • Tour the museum, which will give you a history of the war as a whole, not just the Battle of Gettysburg.
    • Stop by the gift shop and bookstore.
  • Tour the Battlefield. You have several options:
    • Follow the NPS Auto Tour Route and get out and explore each stop.
    • Purchase a touring CD from the bookstore.
    • Use the Civil War Trust’s free Gettysburg Battle App on your smartphone or iPad.
    • Hire a Licensed Battlefield Guide to accompany you.

Don’t Miss:

  • Little Round Top – Location of the Union right flank, famously held by the 20th Maine and Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain.
  • Devil’s Den – Site of vicious fighting just below Little Round Top.
  • The High Water Mark – The point of the Cemetery Ridge where the Confederacy reached the Union center after Pickett’s Charge, on the third and final day of the battle.
  • Soldier’s National Cemetery – The resting place for more than 3,500 Union Troops killed in the battle.

For a longer tour of the battlefield, visit these key sites:

  • McPherson Ridge – The site of the first fighting at Gettysburg between Union cavalry and Confederate infantry
  • Eternal Light Peace Memorial – Located in the area of a Confederate attack on the Union flank during the first day of fighting, this memorial was dedicated on July 3, 1938, on the 75th anniversary of the battle.
  • Spangler’s Spring/Culp Hill – While Little Round Top on the left flank of the Union position is a focal point for visitors, be sure to visit this area that was the right flank of the Union army. Fierce fighting occurred here on the second day of the battle, as Confederates took Culp’s Hill but then were driven off by Union forces.
  • Virginia Memorial/Pickett’s Charge – This beautiful memorial facing Cemetery Ridge occupies the position of Confederate troops who participated in the fated Pickett’s Charge on July 3.
  • The Wheatfield and Peach Orchard – Fierce attacks and counterattacks occurred here on July 2 before Union forces retreated to the safety of Little Round Top.

If you have time:

  • Visit the David Wills House, where Lincoln stayed the night before he gave the Gettysburg Address. The house has been recently renovated into a wonderful museum.
  • Take a battlefield hike on one of Gettysburg’s trails. See your NPS touring map for locations Hike the Fish Hook (the right flank defensive position of the Union army for a rigorous walk.
  • Do what strikes your fancy. Gettysburg is a battlefield on which you could spend hundreds of hours and never do the same thing twice. Explore what interests you!

Stop #2: David Wills House

Time: 1.5 Hours

Details: https://www.nps.gov/gett/planyourvisit/david-wills-house.htm

This National Park Service museum is the former home of David Wills, a Gettysburg resident who hosted Abraham Lincoln the night before his Gettysburg Address. It is a great way to get “inside” the Gettysburg Address and learn about the town of Gettysburg following the horrific three-day battle.

What To Do:

  • Tour the house, stopping in each of the five galleries.
  • While in Lincoln’s bedroom, take a moment to contemplate what he might have been thinking, in the midst of this terrible war, on the eve of a very important opportunity to address the nation.

Stop #3: Gettysburg Heritage Center

Time: 1.5 Hours

Details: https://www.gettysburgmuseum.com/

The center provides artifacts, displays, historical documents, and other #D productions to teach visitors about the civilian experience during the battle.

What To Do:

  • Check out the interactive exhibits and the gift shop.

Stop #4: Seminary Ridge Museum

Time: 1-2 Hours

Details: http://www.seminaryridgemuseum.org/

This beautiful brick building, which was a Lutheran seminary at the time of the battle, served as an important observation post and field hospital for both sides.

What To Do:

  • Tour the 20,000 square feet of interactive exhibits.

Stop #5: Adams County Historical Society

Time: 1-2 Hours (maybe longer depending on your research needs)

Details: https://www.achs-pa.org/

The Adams County Historical Society offers a very comprehensive collection of primary and secondary source material including books, manuscript collections, artifacts, and research related to the Battle of Gettysburg.

What To Do:

  • Explore the museum’s collections of primary and secondary sources, or conduct research if you know you had a relative who fought at Gettysburg.

Stop #6: Gettysburg Museum of History

Time: 1.5 Hours

Details: https://www.gettysburgmuseumofhistory.com/find-us-where-is-the-gettysburg-museum-of-history/

This museum features over 4,000 Civil War relics, including Gettysburg battle artifacts and Lincoln’s wallet and opera glasses.

What To Do:

  • Browse the exhibits and artifacts.

Stop #7: Caledonia State Park

Time: 1-2 Hours

Details: http://www.dcnr.pa.gov/StateParks/FindAPark/CaledoniaStatePark/Pages/default.aspx

This 1,125-acre park, located 25 minutes from Gettysburg, was the site of an iron furnace owned by Thaddeus Stevens and destroyed by Confederate forces during the Civil War.

What To Do:

  • Visit the site of the ruined iron works and blacksmith shop. Hike the miles of trails.

Stop #8: National Civil War Museum:

Time: 1.5 Hours

Details: http://www.nationalcivilwarmuseum.org/

Located in Harrisburg, this museum features extensive permanent collections and fascinating current exhibits covering topics such as “Women and the War” to “Weapons and Equipment.”

What To Do:

  • Tour the museum’s collections and check out any special exhibits or events.

Stop #9: State Museum of Pennsylvania

Time: 1 Hour

Details: http://statemuseumpa.org/

Also located in Harrisburg, this museum features Civil War materials, including flags, uniforms, firearms, swords, accouterments, and soldiers’ personal gear.

What To Do:

  • In addition to the exhibits, check out the famous “Battle of Gettysburg” painting by Peter Frederick Rothermel, which measures 16 feet high by 32 feet long.

Stop #10: The John Harris-Simon Cameron Mansion

Time: 1 Hour

Details: https://www.battlefields.org/visit/heritage-sites/john-harris-simon-cameron-mansion

Another Harrisburg stop, this mansion was the home of Lincoln’s first Secretary of War.

What To Do:

  • Take the mansion tour to learn about Cameron’s service in Lincoln’s cabinet during the war.