Civil War sites

By Joanne Kuzma
This item appears on page 26 of the January 2022 issue.
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The Chandler plantation outbuilding where Stonewall Jackson died — Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park. Photos by Joanne Kuzma

Normally, I take several international tours each year (I’ve been to 55 countries), but because of COVID, its been almost two years since I’ve gone anywhere, so I decided to look for a historical domestic tour. I found an interesting Civil War tour out of Washington, DC, with FFC Historical Tours (Baltimore, MD; 410/733-2912, facebook.com/ffchistoricaltours),* so I flew up.

Taking place Sept. 24-28, 2021, it cost $1,200 per person, double occupancy, or $1,400, single, and included hotel and tour guide plus some local guides. Company owner Fred Campbell quickly answered my initial inquiries.

All five guests in our group got along great! Fred drove us around in an 8-person van, so we had plenty of room. He would pick everyone up at their hotels, all of which were near BWI Airport, and then we’d head out.

We started by going to Monocacy National Battlefield in Maryland. It was where the South had its northernmost victory of the war.

We then proceeded to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the crown jewel of Civil War battlefield parks. The park is massive, and the visitor center was awe-inspiring, with a 377-foot-long cyclorama that was painted in 1883.

I went on a “ghost tour” of the park in the evening. Although it was a bit campy, with guides dressed in Civil War outfits, it provided a wealth of information.

Inside the John Brown Wax Museum in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

Over the next several days, Fred drove us to Harpers Ferry in West Virginia (beautiful scenery at the convergence of three rivers, but it’s not worth spending more than a few hours there), to Manassas, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County in Virginia and to Antietam National Battlefield in Maryland.

The best part of this tour was Fred’s wealth of knowledge and his stories about the individual generals and war participants and their squabbles and life stories. It made me want to do additional research on the characters and battles each night back at the hotel.

One member of our tour group had relatives from a Vermont regiment, and we were able to track down one of the monuments dedicated to that unit. It was great being in a small group with the flexibility to drive around and do things like that!

Overall, I had a great experience. I just wish there were more history tours like this.

JOANNE KUZMA
Lake Mary, FL

* The website address for Fred Campbell was changed from the print version, which was ffchistoricaltours.com/civil-war-tour.


Plaque in front of the outbuilding where Stonewall Jackson died, on the Chandler plantation in what is now Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park.
National War Correspondents Memorial Arch at the site of the Battle of Crampton’s Gap in Gathland State Park, Maryland.
New York State Monument at Antietam National Battlefield (Sharpsburg, Maryland).
Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.
The Chandler plantation outbuilding where Stonewall Jackson died — Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park. Photos by Joanne Kuzma

Normally, I take several international tours each year (I’ve been to 55 countries), but because of COVID, its been almost two years since I’ve gone anywhere, so I decided to look for a historical domestic tour. I found an interesting Civil War tour out of Washington, DC, with FFC Historical Tours (Baltimore, MD; 410/733-2912, facebook.com/ffchistoricaltours),* so I flew up.

Taking place Sept. 24-28, 2021, it cost $1,200 per person, double occupancy, or $1,400, single, and included hotel and tour guide plus some local guides. Company owner Fred Campbell quickly answered my initial inquiries.

All five guests in our group got along great! Fred drove us around in an 8-person van, so we had plenty of room. He would pick everyone up at their hotels, all of which were near BWI Airport, and then we’d head out.

We started by going to Monocacy National Battlefield in Maryland. It was where the South had its northernmost victory of the war.

We then proceeded to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the crown jewel of Civil War battlefield parks. The park is massive, and the visitor center was awe-inspiring, with a 377-foot-long cyclorama that was painted in 1883.

I went on a “ghost tour” of the park in the evening. Although it was a bit campy, with guides dressed in Civil War outfits, it provided a wealth of information.

Inside the John Brown Wax Museum in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

Over the next several days, Fred drove us to Harpers Ferry in West Virginia (beautiful scenery at the convergence of three rivers, but it’s not worth spending more than a few hours there), to Manassas, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County in Virginia and to Antietam National Battlefield in Maryland.

The best part of this tour was Fred’s wealth of knowledge and his stories about the individual generals and war participants and their squabbles and life stories. It made me want to do additional research on the characters and battles each night back at the hotel.

One member of our tour group had relatives from a Vermont regiment, and we were able to track down one of the monuments dedicated to that unit. It was great being in a small group with the flexibility to drive around and do things like that!

Overall, I had a great experience. I just wish there were more history tours like this.

JOANNE KUZMA
Lake Mary, FL

* The website address for Fred Campbell was changed from the print version, which was ffchistoricaltours.com/civil-war-tour.


Plaque in front of the outbuilding where Stonewall Jackson died, on the Chandler plantation in what is now Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park.
National War Correspondents Memorial Arch at the site of the Battle of Crampton’s Gap in Gathland State Park, Maryland.
New York State Monument at Antietam National Battlefield (Sharpsburg, Maryland).