1 day: Antietam or G'burg? Both?

Jun 22nd, 2007, 08:46 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2007
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1 day: Antietam or G'burg? Both?

We are leaving Wed from Seattle for our DC to Boston trip. We have 4 days in DC then will head to PA to visit Hershey, Lancaster and then will be in Philly on the 4th! In between DC and Hershey, will we regret not doing Gettysburg if we choose Antietam instead? We just want to give our 12 and 15 yr-old boys a battlefield experience. We’re not total Civil War buffs, but want them to appreciate it! Any comments or tips for this leg of our trip? (Then from Philly we are just 2 days in NY, then 4 in Boston! Can't wait!) Thanks!
NWMom is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 09:18 AM
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Antietam can be done in a hour. So get up early and go there first. Catch a lunch on the way to Gettysburg. Then you have three hours in the afternoon for Gettysburg.
GeorgeW is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 09:35 AM
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If you have to, you can do both in one day. If it were me, I'd try to take an extra day from other parts of the itinerary and add it to this area. I would then include Harper's Ferry with Antietam and Gettysburg, both for its setting and its historical significance. Have a great trip.
dwooddon is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 09:54 AM
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I would try to do both but if you have to choose one, I'd go with Gettysburg for your boys. It is a very moving experience to be there and should give them a real sense of history.
texasjo is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 10:02 AM
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I agree. Even though I had a Civil War great-grandfather who fought at Antietam, if I had to choose one, I'd visit Gettysburg. I have been there twice recently with my children's 6th grade Washington DC trips, and it is a very moving experience. If you can do both, do. If not, then hit Gettysburg.
verybuckeye is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 10:31 AM
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Thank you all! Sounds like doing both would be good. And I did look into Harper's Ferry which someone else had recommended. I hear the Eisenhower house at G’burg is fascinating—agree? Thanks again! I will post my trip report after July 11.
NWMom is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 12:00 PM
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As a history teacher--if you can work in all three that's great because each one has a little different perspective on that time period. At Gettysburg--opt for the tour guide that will travel with you in your car--you will get much more and will hold the kids interest much more than the bus tour.
TrvlMaven is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 02:38 PM
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In case, you still can check the Web, I will add my two cents. As a person very interested in the Civil War, doing both in one day seems like a bad idea, but as a traveler who has been known to squeeze in more in 24 hours than should be humanly possible, I say go for it. Follow George's plan. 2-3 hours is sufficient for a pretty good tour of Antietam (do it very early though). Since it gets dark pretty late this time of year, and the Gettysburg battlefield is open to cars after dark even, it should work fine. You can do a pretty good car tour of the main sites in an afternoon. The trouble might come in squeezing in the visitor center exhibits, the cemetery, and the town, along with the battlefield. If you really want a treat for the kids, take them for a drive around the battlefield just after dark. It is very haunting. Stop at Little Round Top and walk on the top in the dark!!
dan_woodlief is offline  
Jun 27th, 2007, 02:53 PM
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You may have already left, but you'll be in Gettysburg on the anniversary of the battle. You may need to plan ahead a bit if you wanted to procure an Official Guide. If you're not familiar with the geography of the battle, it might be a worthwhile expenditure.

If I had to pick a few highlights, I'd suggest sticking with the "2nd and 3rd day" portion of the battlefield given your limited time. Those are basically to the west of the town.

Maybe start on the Confederate side of the line, about the midpoint near the observation tower. That'll give you a nice perspective on what they were looking at when they crossed the field on the 3rd day.

From there, head west toward the Round Topsand the Union side of the line. I suggest climbing Little Round Top and finding the 20th Maine marker. From there, head to the Devil's Den and the front slope of the Little Round Top. There are numerous monuments starting around this point.

If time permits head to the Peach Orchard. Make certain to stop at the Pennsylvannia Memorial which is near "The High Water Mark" at the "Clump of Trees" and the angle in the stone wall. The High Water mark represents not only how far the South got in Pickett's charge but also the start of thier losing the war.

Definately tour the National Cemetary and the Museum.
Ryan is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 06:51 PM
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I would never try and do both these battlefields in the same day. Gettysburg was, yes, the pivotal battle in the Civil War (at least in the East; on the same day Grant took Vicksburg--the pivotal battle on the Mississippi).

Gettysburg is full of monuments and it is difficult to get a feel for how it really looked. It helps to get the tour you use in your car--or even better hire one of the battlefield guides. They have to pass a stringent test to guide and really know the site.

Antietam has largely been kept the way it was at the time of the battle. There are no monuments. Some of the buildings that became battlegrounds are still there. The film at the Visitor's Center is very interesting as well.

As a history nut, doing Gettysburg takes at least 4 hours. Perhaps someone could rush through Antietam in 2 but not me.

There is a lot to see in both places. If your time is limited, I would just pick one of them to visit.
FauxSteMarie is offline  

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