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Pennsylvania

Three Civil War Battlefields: Harpers Ferry, Antietam and Gettysburg

Program No. 16301RJ
Dive deep into the story of the Civil War as you learn about John Brown’s raid in Harpers Ferry, the Emancipation Proclamation in Sharpsburg and the war’s turning point in Gettysburg.

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Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Apr 21 - Apr 26, 2024
Starting at
1,849
May 12 - May 17, 2024
Starting at
1,849
Sep 8 - Sep 13, 2024
Starting at
1,849
Oct 27 - Nov 1, 2024
Starting at
1,849
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Apr 21 - Apr 26, 2024
Starting at
2,339
May 12 - May 17, 2024
Starting at
2,339
Sep 8 - Sep 13, 2024
Starting at
2,339
Oct 27 - Nov 1, 2024
Starting at
2,339

At a Glance

The armed slave revolt at Harpers Ferry, the devastating battle at Antietam and the turning point victory at Gettysburg — these three battles were perhaps the most significant in the entire Civil War. They were also among the bloodiest battles in American history. Remember their legacies as you investigate these fateful sites and learn from the past. Unravel the events that led to John Brown’s anti-slavery raid, discover how the Battle of Antietam convinced President Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation and trace the dramatic timeline of the Battle of Gettysburg.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to two miles a day on uneven terrain.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Explore the site of John Brown's Fort at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.
  • At Antietam, try to grasp the gravity of a battle where 22,000 soldiers were killed, wounded, captured or missing in 12 hours of grueling combat.
  • Experience lively evenings while watching the movie “Gettysburg” and listening to authentic Civil War-era music.

General Notes

Select dates are designated for small groups and are limited to 24 participants or less.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Tom Jolin
Tom was a founding member of the West Orrtanna String Band, as well as the Orrtanna Mountain Steamers, and played with these groups from 1972 to 1999. Through funding from The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, their five albums were archived and preserved in a set, “Traditional Music from Orrtanna.” Tom is also an instrument maker, specializing in the hammer dulcimer. He is a sought after artist-in-residence and lives with his family in the foothills of the Appalachians, near Gettysburg.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Tom Jolin
Tom was a founding member of the West Orrtanna String Band, as well as the Orrtanna Mountain Steamers, and played with these groups from 1972 to 1999. Through funding from The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, their five albums were archived and preserved in a set, “Traditional Music from Orrtanna.” Tom is also an instrument maker, specializing in the hammer dulcimer. He is a sought after artist-in-residence and lives with his family in the foothills of the Appalachians, near Gettysburg.
Profile Image of Richard Kohr
Richard Kohr View biography
Richard Kohr has been a Licensed Battlefield Guide since 1995, and is the former president of the Association of Licensed Battlefield Guides. Rich has led presentations at several seminars and Civil War round tables, and has taught continuing education courses on the Gettysburg campaign at the Gettysburg campus of Harrisburg Area Community College.
Profile Image of Dave Booz
Dave served as a high school principal and teacher for thirty years and is now an adjunct professor in the Civil War Era Studies program at Gettysburg College. He was also the Executive Director of the Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg. Dave is active in the North-South Skirmish Association, the Maryland Arms Collectors Association and St. John Lutheran Church in Fairfield, Pennsylvania.
Profile Image of Lauren Kain
Lauren Kain View biography
Lauren Biddle Kain is the site coordinator for Philadelphia Landmarks Road Scholar. She received her BS/BA from Randolph Macon College in Ashland, Virginia. After marriage and transfer to the San Diego area, she began working at EVENT NETWORK, a leading experiental retail operator, on behalf of cultural attractions such as zoos, botanical gardens, aquariums, museums, science centers and other cultural attractions. Lauren and her family now reside in the Philadelphia area. She started working with Road Scholar as a junior Group Leader for Grandparent Programs.
Profile Image of Brad Gottfried
Brad Gottfried View biography
Brad Gottfried earned his Ph.D. and then spent 40 years in higher education, retiring as a college president. Although he became an administrator, he taught college courses just about every year. Upon retirement, he moved to Pennsylvania and became a Gettysburg Licensed Town Guide and an Antietam Certified Battlefield Guide. He is the author of 17 books on the Civil War, ranging from military studies to Lincoln’s visit to Gettysburg. Among his greatest joys are taking guests around Gettysburg and the Antietam battlefield.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
High Tide at Gettysburg
by Glenn Tucker
A wonderful history of the battle from a Confederate view point. He also makes great use of anecdotal incidents.
Six Years of Hell: Harpers Ferry During the Civil War
by Chester G. Hearn
Harpers Ferry
John Brown: The Thundering Voice of Jehovah
by Stan Cohen
Harpers Ferry
At Gettysburg or What a Girl Saw and Heard at the Battle- A True Narrative
by Mrs. Tillie (Pierce) Alleman
An excellent story as Tillie Pierce a young teen age girl tells about her involvement and reaction during the Battle of Gettysburg.
The Killer Angels
by Michael Shaara
A historical fiction Pulitzer prize winning novel of the Battle of Gettysburg
Gettysburg: A Journey In Time
by William Frassanito
A study of Civil War photography and the use of photos as historical documents. Photos of the Gettysburg battlefield were taken immediately after the battle and each photo is analyzed and accompanied by a modern view.
The Gettysburg Campaign: A Study in Command
by Edwin Coddington
Highly recommended by the Gettysburg National Military Park and Battlefield Guides. Extremely authoritative account of the entire Gettysburg Campaign.
Women at Gettysburg
by Eileen F. Conklin
Extraordinary and Fascinating Biographies of 40 women who served, nursed, or aided the soldiers after Gettysburg.
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6 days
5 nights
13 meals
5 B 3 L 5 D
DAY
1
Check-In, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner, Class
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
D
Historic Gettysburg Hotel

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 4:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration: 5:00 p.m. After you check in and have your room assignment, join us at the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff, get any updated information, and confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please locate your Group Leader and let them know you have arrived. Orientation: 5:30 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: Next, we will have a presentation by a local historian on the Civil War soldier and accoutrements. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
Gettysburg, Cyclorama, Harpers Ferry & Antietam Preview
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
B,L,D
Historic Gettysburg Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 2 miles throughout the day, approximately 1/2 hour total riding time. Walking up to 1/2 mile indoors and out.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will board a motorcoach and ride to Gettysburg National Military Park Visitors Center and Museum. At this state of the art facility, we’ll have a self-directed exploration and gain insights into the Civil War and the Battle of Gettysburg. We’ll also watch the short film “A New Birth of Freedom” narrated by Morgan Freeman, then view the restored cyclorama painting — one of only three left in the U.S. — that is a depiction of the Battle of Gettysburg. We’ll then have some independent time to explore the museum and see an extensive collection of artifacts and relics that were found on the Gettysburg battlefield and other prominent battlefields of the Civil War. We’ll ride back to the hotel after our field trip.

Lunch: At the hotel.

Afternoon: Next, we will be joined by a licensed battlefield expert for a preview of the battles at Harper’s Ferry and Antietam.

Dinner: Early at the hotel.

Evening: We will ride back to the Visitor Center for an in-depth, up-close, and personal look at the history of cycloramas in the U.S., and especially the Picketts Charge cyclorama here in Gettysburg.

DAY
3
Harpers Ferry & Antietam Battlefields
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
B,L,D
Historic Gettysburg Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 110 miles throughout the day, approximately 2 hours total riding time. Walking up to 1.5 miles; generally flat terrain.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will board the motorcoach and ride to Harpers Ferry National Historic Park in West Virginia. A licensed Harpers Ferry expert will give us a presentation followed by a walking field trip. From the National Park Service: “The history of Harpers Ferry has few parallels in the American drama. It is more than one event, one date, or one individual. It is multi-layered — involving a diverse number of people and events that influenced the course of our nation's history. Harpers Ferry witnessed the first successful application of interchangeable manufacture, the arrival of the first successful American railroad, John Brown’s attack on slavery, the largest surrender of Federal troops during the Civil War, and the education of former slaves in one of the earliest integrated schools in the United States.”

Lunch: At the Visitor Center (weather permitting) we will have boxed lunches.

Afternoon: We will ride on to Antietam — site of the bloodiest day in American history — for a presentation by a Parl Ranger. It was here that 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded, captured, or missing after twelve hours of savage combat on September 17, 1862. Key sites will include the Dunker Church, Sunken Road, and Burnsides Bridge. As the National Park Service explains, “The Battle of Antietam ended the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia's first invasion into the North and led Abraham Lincoln to issue the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.” We’ll ride back to the hotel after our field trip.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Gettysburg Day One, Battlefield Field Trip, Civil War Music
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
B,L,D
Historic Gettysburg Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 5 miles throughout the day, approximately 2 hours depending on traffic and number of stops. Walking up to 1 mile; generally flat terrain.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will gather for a presentation by a Licensed Battlefield Guide on the first day of fighting at the Battle of Gettysburg. According to the American Battlefield Trust, “The first shot of the Battle of Gettysburg is said to have been fired by a Union cavalry officer at 7:30 a.m. on July 1, 1863 along the Chambersburg Turnpike three miles west of the town. The Southern column halted and threw forward skirmishers. By 9:00 a.m., two brigades of General Henry Heth’s Division were in line of battle atop Herr’s Ridge west of Willougby’s Run. Up until that point in the battle, the Confederates had only encountered Union cavalry and were unaware of the approaching Northern infantry.” We will set out after the lecture on a field trip via motorcoach to explore the first day’s corresponding sites. We will return to the hotel after our field trip.

Lunch: At the hotel.

Afternoon: Next, we will ride to the Seminary Ridge Museum for a self-directed exploration. There are three floors of exhibits that provide the context for the Civil War as well as powerful and personals views of the battle’s first day. We will also be able to learn about the work of one of the battlefield’s largest field hospitals. We’ll then set out on a walking field trip along the streets of Gettysburg with a local historian.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: We will watch the movie “The Gettysburg Story” that aired nationally on the 150th battle anniversary. From PBS: “The Gettysburg Story begins on June 1863 with the start of the Gettysburg campaign in Virginia and follows the route of the Confederate and Union armies as they move north along the Blue Ridge mountains and across the Mason-Dixon line to meet on the rolling ground surrounding the small Pennsylvania town. The program is narrated by acclaimed actor Stephen Lang (Avatar, Tombstone, Gettysburg) and was produced with the cooperation of the 6,000 acre Gettysburg National Military Park. Dynamic, evocative, breathtaking aerial and time lapse imagery highlight legendary places.”

DAY
5
Gettysburg Day Two, The Battlefield, Shriver House
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
B,D
Historic Gettysburg Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 10 miles throughout the day, approximately 2 hours depending on traffic and number of stops. Walking up to 1 mile; generally flat terrain.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will gather for a presentation by a Licensed Battlefield Guide on the second day of fighting at Gettysburg. We’ll then board the motorcoach for a field trip to the battlefield where we will view sites where the second day’s fighting took place. On our field trip we’ll ride alon Confederate Avenue that was the Southern line of Pickett’s Charge, Little Round Top, the 20th Maine Monument, and the Wheatfield. As the Library of Congress has explained, “On July 2, 1863, the lines of the Battle of Gettysburg, now in its second day, were drawn in two sweeping parallel arcs. The Confederate and Union armies faced each other a mile apart. The Union forces extending along Cemetery Ridge to Culp’s Hill, formed the shape of a fish-hook, and the Confederate forces were spread along Seminary Ridge.” We’ll then return to the hotel.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to have what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Afternoon: Afternoon We will have some time for independent exploration in the downtown area. At 4:30 p.m., we’ll regroup and walk to the Shriver House Museum that has been restored and furnished to its original 1860s appearance. During our field trip, we’ll gain an understanding of the civilian experienced and learn more about events that took place in the small town of Gettysburg during the battle. Returning to the hotel, we will have time to freshen up and relax, then gather for a social reception before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: We’ll have a special treat with a renowned local folk musician who play Civil War era music with instruments including a handmade hammer dulcimer, banjo, accordion, and harmonica. Prepare for check-out and departure after our final field trip in the morning.

DAY
6
Gettysburg: Day Three, Program Concludes
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
B

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Our final lecture and field trip to the site will focus on Day Three of the Battle of Gettysburg. From the Library of Congress: “On July 3, 1863, Union troops repelled a massive artillery assault on Cemetery Ridge during the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg in southern Pennsylvania… 28,063 Confederates and 23,049 Union soldiers were killed or wounded at Gettysburg. President Lincoln paid tribute to the Union soldiers’ sacrifice in the Gettysburg Address, delivered at the dedication of a National Cemetery at Gettysburg on November 19, 1863.” Returning to the hotel, this concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.