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Path of R Reenactors
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AntietamAnteitam National Battlefield, the site of the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, has become the model in the on-going struggle to preserve hallowed ground throughout the country.
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So many trails, so little timeThroughout the three states there are nearly 800 trail sites. Of Maryland's 215 sites, 200 had never been interpreted before Civil War Trails.
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Gettybsurg"When you think about Gettysburg the story is put into a whole new light when you speak about soldiers, animals, supplies, and artillery moving across the landscape from Virginia to Maryland to Pennsylvania and then back again."
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Loy's Station BridgeNestled in Rocky Ridge is the Loy's Station one-lane bridge.
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Civil War Trails
Rose Hill Manor
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Trails don't stop at state linesCivil War Trails is a three state program which includes North Carolina and Virginia, where Civil War Trails began in 1994.
Path of R Reenactors
So many trails, so little time
Loy's Station Bridge
Rose Hill Manor
Trails don't stop at state lines
As a boy my imagination was fueled by rolling fields of wheat and corn snake-lined by split rail fences, bronze cannons and stone statues of men with thick mustaches and muskets by their sides. Growing up in Frederick, the American Civil War surrounded me—geographically and historically. Confederate and Union armies occupied the city at different times between 1861 and 1865 and churches were transformed into hospitals in the aftermath of the Battles of Gettysburg and Antietam. Names like Jubal Early rolled off the tongue like music, while names like Abraham Lincoln seemed to personify perseverance and fortitude. Not to mention the family Springer Spaniel was named Dixie.
In the summer of 2007, guided by Maryland Civil War Trails, I set out on the back roads of this border state retracing the well worn footprints of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, Eastern Shore-born abolitionists Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass, an actor from Bel Air named John Wilkes Booth, as well as the multitude of civilians and soldiers that lived, fought, and died here. 1862 Antietam Campaign: Lee Invades Maryland, the first in a series of four interpretive trail maps published by the Maryland Office of Tourism Development, was released September 14, 2002—three days before the 140th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam—followed by subsequent trails focusing on Gettysburg, John Wilkes Booth, and the Baltimore Riot of 1861.
“The Civil War in Maryland is a very significant heritage story and somehow we needed to cohesively put all the experiences and stories from across the state together for the traveling public,” says Marci Ross, Assistant Director of Product Development for Maryland Tourism.
Like the “War Between the States” the trails don’t stop at state lines. Civil War Trails is a three state program which includes North Carolina and Virginia, where Civil War Trails began in 1994.
“When you think about Gettysburg,” says Ross, “the story is put into a whole new light when you speak about soldiers, animals, supplies, and artillery moving across the landscape from Virginia to Maryland to Pennsylvania and then back again. It just didn’t make sense to start telling stories on our side of the Potomac.”
Mitch Bowman, Executive Director of Civil War Trails, based in Richmond, says the key to the trail program is “access”—both physical and intellectual. “We try to make it as relative as we can. You can pull up, get out of your automobile and read an engaging level of interpretation of what happened right where you are standing. You don’t need to read volumes of Frederick Douglass when you go to where he was born to get a sense of his impact on American History.”
Throughout the three states there are nearly 800 trail sites. Of Maryland’s 215 sites, 200 had never been interpreted before Civil War Trails. Chances are you’ve passed a Maryland Civil War Trails marker on your way to work or home from the grocery store. The distinctive signs with the red bugle emblem line country roads and city streets. Stories and histories of communities are told through interpretive placards. Many of the trails can be traveled in one day, however, with larger trails, such as Antietam or Gettysburg, touring the battlefields alone can burn up a morning and afternoon. Trail maps can be found at any Maryland Welcome Center. The maps are free and provide numbers and websites for local visitor centers. So, grab one and enjoy your trip.
Trail 1 - Baltimore: A House Divided
Trail 2 - 1862 Antietam Campaign: Lee Invades Maryland
Trail 3 - Gettysburg: Invasion & Retreat
Trail 4 - John Wilkes Booth: Escape of an Assassin
Eastern Shore Trails
For more information about Maryland Civil War Trails or to obtain trail maps, visit www.mdwelcome.org or call 1-888-248-4597. For more information about the entire Civil War Trails program visit www.civilwartrails.org.