As the leaves change color and the weather starts to turn, fall becomes the perfect time to explore Maryland's role in the Civil War. Here at Maryland Commerce, we encourage visitors to take a weekend trip to one of our state's local Civil War sites and learn more about the history and significance in our nation's history.
Last month, the National Park Service commemorated the 155th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam and the 150th anniversary of the establishment of Antietam National Cemetery. Known as the bloodiest single day of battle in all of American History, Antietam was one of the turning points in the Civil War, leading to President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation announcement and the freeing of more than three million slaves.
After experiencing the Antietam National Battlefield, explore the surrounding small towns and local recreational stops. The National Museum of Civil War Medicine is close by in neighboring Frederick County, and the newly-expanded Antietam Brewery is just a 25 minute drive north of the battlefield. Brewery owner Bill Skomski says that they "name most beers after the Civil War" and include American history stories on the cans.
Another milestone taking place this year is the 15th anniversary of the Civil War driving trails, including: Antietam Campaign: Lee Invades Maryland Trail, Baltimore Riot Trail, Gettysburg Campaign Trail, John Wilkes Booth: Escape of an Assassin Trail, and The Attack on Washington: The Last Invasion Trail. The five trails – all unique from one another – span the state and give a glimpse into the soldiers' journey through Maryland.
Plan your trip in advance by downloading the Civil War Trails app, available in both the App Store and Google Play Store. Since launching, the app has been downloaded more than 10,000 times.
For more information on the trails or to order a free map guide, go to www.visitmaryland.org or call 800-719-5900.