With hundreds of memorials, museums, and VA battlefields to see, visiting all of the Civil War sites in Virginia would be an impressive feat.
In fact, there are more Civil War battlefields in VA than in any other state! Almost anywhere you travel, you’re just a stone’s throw away from historic sites dedicated to the memory of the Civil War in Virginia.
In fact, there are five national parks in Virginia that preserve many of the Civil War battlefields in VA.
All of them are linked by Virginia’s Civil War Trails, which allow visitors to work their way between the Civil War battle sites in Virginia.
In our experience, touring these Civil War battlefields is a great way to gain a deeper understanding of this dark era in American history.
Some sites occasionally offer Civil War reenactments to give visitors a taste of the brutality of war, and a glimpse of the impact it had on local women, children, and enslaved Africans.
Read on for our in-depth guide to the Civil War battlefields in Virginia, including info on tours, history, and things to do at each historic site.
There’s also a handy map, for those who want to hit up several VA battlefields in one trip.
READ MORE: 8 Civil War Battlefields in Georgia to Visit
Civil War Battlefields in VA Map
Civil War Battlefields in Virginia Guide
- Chancellorsville Battlefield (Spotsylvania Courthouse VA)
- Cool Spring Battlefield (Bluemont VA)
- Cross Keys Battlefield (Port Republic VA)
- Fredericksburg Battlefield (Fredericksburg VA)
- New Market Battlefield State Historical Park (New Market VA)
- Petersburg National Battlefield Park (Petersburg VA)
- Richmond National Battlefield Park (Richmond VA)
- Spotsylvania Battlefield (Orange VA)
- Staunton River Battlefield State Park (Randolph VA)
- Wilderness Battlefield (Orange VA)
READ MORE: Exploring Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park in Lookout Mountain GA
1. Chancellorsville Battlefield
9001 Plank Rd, Spotsylvania Courthouse VA • (540) 693-3200
The Battle of Chancellorsville took place from April 30 to May 6, 1863. This Civil War battle site can easily be visited in conjunction with the battlefields at Fredericksburg, Wilderness, and Spotsylvania.
Download a self-guided driving tour map and start your tour at the Jackson Wounding Site, then head over to the Bullock House, the first location where US soldiers arrived before the battle.
The Chancellor House was actually an Inn that became Union headquarters during the battle. McCaw’s Line was the location of a 3-day battle, and the Catharine Furnace Ruins were the site of a Confederate attack on May 2, 1863.
Hazel Grove was the site of one of the war’s most brutal attacks, which saw the Union Army retreating on May 3rd.
There are also a number of hiking trails here to explore. The Jackson Wounding Trail is a 0.2-mile trail that circles the Visitor Center. The Chancellorsville History Trail is a 4.3-mile loop that leads to the Bullock House Site.
The Hazel Grove-Fairview Trail is a 1.7-mile loop that links two important artillery positions in the May 3rd battle. And the 1.1-mile McLaws Line Trail leads to the site where Confederates kept Union soldiers distracted while Jackson flanked them.
READ MORE: 10 Best Virginia Mountain Towns to Visit
2. Cool Spring Battlefield
1400 Parker Lane, Bluemont VA • (540) 740-4545
The Battle of Cool Spring took place in Clarke County VA on July 18, 1864.
Shenandoah University’s Shenandoah River Campus at Cool Springs Battlefield now protects the 195-acre site of the largest and bloodiest Civil War battle in VA.
There are 9 stops on a walking tour that leads to all the important points of historical interest relating to this brutal battle. Interpretive markers will offer insights on the detailed history of the event.
This park also offers miles of great hiking trails that take you through the forest and meadows dotted with colorful Virginia wildflowers.
It’s a great place for a picnic, and gazing out across the Shenandoah Valley to see West Virginia’s Allegheny Mountains.
You can also walk or sit beside the Shenandoah River, hear the cacophony of birds and other wildlife, and enjoy the gorgeous views of this famous Virginia river.
READ MORE: 20 Things to Do in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia
3. Cross Keys Battlefield
4232 Bowtie Drive, Port Republic VA • (540)740-4545
Located 22 miles from the town of Waynesboro VA, the Battle of Cross Keys was one of the last battles of Stonewall Jackson’s 1862 Valley Campaign.
This important victory over the Union Army allowed Jackson to join General Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Richmond.
On this self-guided driving tour, you can visit Artillery Ridge, a defensive line that was essential to the Confederate Army’s success in the battle.
Your next stop could be the Goods Mill Walking Trail, where you’ll find three Civil War Trails interpretive markers, as well as two interpretative Virginia Civil War Trails signs and a memorial plaque.
Be aware that there is a private house located along the trail, so please stick to the clearly marked path.
You can also visit the Union Church, which was built on the site of the original church that stood there when the first shots of the Cross Keys Battle were fired.
READ MORE: The 10 Best Things to Do in Waynesboro VA (Augusta County)
4. Fredericksburg Battlefield
1013 Lafayette Boulevard, Fredericksburg VA • (540) 693-3200
The Battle of Fredericksburg took place around what is now the city of Fredericksburg VA. Go to the visitors center to get a map that plots out an educational driving tour of the area.
The self-guided tour will take you to a number of sites associated with the Battle of Fredericksburg, including a stop at Chatham Manor. This house was occupied by the US Army during the battle, and used as their headquarters.
The first floor of the home offers several exhibits where visitors can learn about the house, as well as the history of slavery and the road to freedom.
Other historical highlights on the driving tour include Lee’s Hill (the General’s HQ during the battle) and Prospect Hill.
Fredericksburg National Cemetary is home to the graves of 15,000 US soldiers, most of whom died in the Civil War Battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Wilderness, and Spotsylvania.
You’ll also have the chance to walk along the 0.8-mile loop of the Sunken Road Trail, which leads to a number of important sites as well as being of historical significance itself.
The Sunken Road was the site of a battle in December 1862, when waves of Union soldiers marched towards Confederate soldiers, who were defending their line from behind a stone wall.
It is said that the Union soldiers never made it closer than 50 yards before being shot.
READ MORE: The 10 Best Caves and Caverns in Virginia
5. New Market Battlefield State Historical Park
57 George Collins Pkwy, New Market VA • (540) 740-3101
Located 15.4 miles to the west of Luray VA, the New Market Battlefield State Historical Park was the site of one of the last Confederate victories in Shenandoah on May 15, 1864.
The park’s 300 acres encompass the main battlefield areas, including the historic Bushong Farm and the Virginia Museum of the Civil War.
The museum focuses on the many Civil War battles of Virginia, but goes in-depth on the New Market Battle in particular. Here you can see artifacts from the battle and from the Bushong Farm.
There are hiking trails throughout the park that will have you walking on the site of a major Civil War battle.
But they also allow you to enjoy the vast flora and fauna of the area, including throngs of colorful wildflowers, butterflies, and commonly sighted birds of Virginia.
READ MORE: The 10 Best Things to Do in Luray VA (Gateway to Shenandoah)
6. Petersburg National Battlefield Park
5001 Siege Road, Petersburg VA • (804) 732-3531
This Petersburg VA Civil War battlefield park is a must-see for anyone who’s interested in Virginia state history.
The devastating Battle of Petersburg lasted nine and a half months, and caused approximately 70,000 casualties.
During this battle, Union General Ulysses S. Grant strategically cut off supplies to Petersburg, which ultimately led to the fall of Richmond on April 3, 1865. Six days later, General Robert E. Lee surrendered.
The 2700-acre Petersburg National Battlefield Park allows visitors to stop at 16 locations on a self-guided driving tour.
Along the way, you’ll see the sites of General Grant’s Headquarters at City Point, the Eastern Front, the Western Front, and the Five Forks Battlefield.
At General Grant’s Headquarters, you’ll visit the home of the Eppes Family, watching a 15-minute film and touring the first floor of this historic house.
Exhibits there document the Union Army’s taking of City Point, as well as the lives of the enslaved Africans who were forced to live on the property before the war.
READ MORE: 10 Great Romantic Getaways in Virginia for Couples
7. Richmond National Battlefield Park
470 Tredegar St, Richmond VA • (804) 771-2145
Richmond was at the center of the Virginia Civil War, as well as being the capital of the Confederacy. This National Battlefield Park offers a chance to visit 13 important Richmond Civil War sites.
The Visitor Contact Station at Tredegar Iron Works is an award-winning museum that provides a look at “the war between the States” from the perspectives of Unionists, Confederates, and enslaved people.
You can also gather info on other important stops for your tour of Richmond VA Civil War sites, including Cold Harbor, Malvern Hill, Fort Harrison, and Chimborazo.
At the Chimborazo Medical Museum, you’ll see exhibits on medical equipment and the many men and women who worked at the hospital during the bloody battles of 1862.
Visit the Cold Harbor Battlefield Visitor Center to see exhibits relating to the 1862 Battle of Gaines’ Mill and the 1864 Battle of Cold Harbor.
The Fort Harrison Visitor Center sheds light on the detailed events of September 29, 1864, when Union soldiers seized the Confederate Fort Harrison.
After you leave the Visitor Center, a 20-minute hike allows you to explore the important site for yourself.
READ MORE: The 10 Best Campgrounds in Virginia
8. Spotsylvania Battlefield
35347 Constitution Hwy, Orange VA • (540) 693-3200
Here you have another tour that takes you to 8 important locations associated with the Spotsylvania Battle, which occurred in May 1864.
Start at the Spotsylvania Battlefield Exhibit Shelter, which was the site of the first clash. Info offered here will give you a better understanding of the events of the battle before you head out on your tour.
Leaving the Exhibit Shelter, you can either drive to the other locations or walk the 5.6-mile loop of the Spotsylvania History Trail, which leads you to a majority of the stops.
If you’re driving, your next stop will be Upton’s Road, where Col Emory Upton led a fierce battle against the Confederates.
The tour then leads you to Bloody Angle, Harrison House, the McCoull House Site, East Face of Salient, and Heth’s Salient, all of which saw great battles and terrible bloodshed.
Your driving tour ultimately ends at Fredericksburg Road, where the Union Army maintained control of the area, allowing them to slowly push south after the Spotsylvania Battle was won.
READ MORE: The 15 Best Lakes in the Virginia Mountains to Visit
9. Staunton River Battlefield State Park
1035 Fort Hill Drive, Randolph VA • (434) 454-4312
Staunton River Battlefield State Park is a 300-acre historic site that commemorates the Battle of Staunton River Bridge.
The battle took place in June of 1864 on a bridge that is now part of the historic bridge trail.
It was here that 700 Confederate soldiers were said to have held off an assault by some 5,000 Union soldiers.
There are two visitor centers on site, each of them offering exhibits on the area’s Civil War heritage as well as Native American archaeological artifacts.
Other exhibits documents the park’s birds, animals, and ecological features.
The state park also has a 1.2-mile trail that takes you through the Staunton River Battlefield, as well as a 0.75-mile nature trail that leads to two different observation towers that overlook wetland areas.
READ MORE: The 10 Best Historic & Covered Bridges in Virginia
10. Wilderness Battlefield
35347 Constitution Hwy, Orange VA • (540) 693-3200
Visiting Wilderness Battlefield in Orange VA offers a chance to see 8 different points of historical interest on a driving tour, which starts at Ulysses S. Grant’s Headquarters.
Start your tour at the Wilderness Battlefield Exhibit Shelter to gain a better understanding of the battle’s salient events. You’ll also have the option of hiking the 2.1-mile Gordon Flank Attack Trail loop.
Saunders Field– the site of the opening of the Battle of the Wilderness on May 5, 1864– is the next stop on the tour.
Tapp Field was the site of a dramatic advance in the Civil War battle. It was here, on the morning of May 6, that the Union Army attacked the Confederates, forcing them back with only a line of cannons remaining.
From there you’ll continue on to the site of Longstreet’s Wounding before ending at the Brock Road-Plank Road Intersection, which was a strategic location for both armies. –by Emma Gallagher