Two Soldiers and the Gathering Storm

No group of Americans were more reluctantly divided by the gathering storm of civil war than the men of West Point, virtual brothers, who would be alienated by conflicting loyalties and would have to lead the armies that would fight one another. We will probe this tragic dynamic by closely studying two West Point classmates, among the most famed, who represent this ironic separation—Confederate General Thomas Jonathan (Stonewall) Jackson and Union General George Brinton McClellan. We meet Jackson in Harpers Ferry as the war opened, before crossing into the Alleghenies to western West Virginia where we will meet his classmate George McClellan, the hero of the very first battles of the Civil War.

These two men, who rose to high command in the war, vividly represent the dividing Union. In getting to know them, we will begin to understand the dynamic that will drive the war itself, and the men who would be fighting one another when it came.We begin in Washington DC, at the famous Willard Hotel, where we will meet Abraham Lincoln himself--that pivotal figure of the coming war--visit the Lincoln cottage, the Lincoln Memorial, and Ford’s Theatre. In Harpers Ferry we will not only meet Jackson for the first time but we will revisit in detail John Brown’s famous raid, which further dramatically split the slaveholding South and the antislavery North as the crisis built. We will visit Antietam, which would become one of the most famous battlefields of the war, before moving into the rugged mountains where McClellan began his own storied and troubled Civil War career.

Our Hotels

The Willard Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue will be our meeting place for the first two nights. American author, Nathaniel Hawthorne, observed in the 1860's that "the Willard Hotel more justly could be called the center of Washington than either the Capitol or the White House or the State Department. On February 23, 1861, amid several assassination threats, Allan Pinkerton smuggled Abraham Lincoln into the Willard during the weeks before his inauguration there Lincoln lived until his inauguration on March 4, holding meetings in the lobby and carrying on business from his room.

The Bavarian Inn, located in historic Shepherdstown, W.V. is only an hour from Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, and minutes from Harpers Ferry and Antietam Battlefield. This charming and historic inn offers European elegance and authentic Bavarian cuisine from its scenic location overlooking the Potomac River.
We'll also be staying one night in Elkins, WV in the mountains and our last night at an airport hotel to facilitate transportation concerns.

Tour Price Per Person Sharing: $2495
Single Supplement: $600
A $300 deposit is required to secure your place on this tour.

To Make Your Reservation Contact Charlene Corris ~ Custom Travel Concepts
Toll-free 866-956-4440 Email:


Fri/June 18 We will meet at the Willard Hotel in time for an evening reception with our historian John "Jack" Waugh and President Abraham Lincoln (James Getty). As we get to know one another we will also have an opportunity to learn a bit more about our tour and its theme.

Sat/June 19 After breakfast we will tour sites made famous by our 16th president. One of history's greatest leaders, Abraham Lincoln brought unity to a nation at war, comfort to citizens in crisis and freedom to people enslaved. Our first stop is the Lincoln Memorial where "In this temple, as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the Union, the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever." We continue to the Lincoln Cottage, located on a picturesque hilltop in Washington, DC, it is the most significant historic site directly associated with Lincoln's presidency aside from the White House during the Civil War. Our last visit is Ford's Theatre where America's transfer from Civil War to peace was made more difficult on April 14, 1865, when Abraham Lincoln was shot and killed just five days after General Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House. John Wilkes Booth stepped into the president's theatre box and assassinated President Lincoln, then escaped into the night as Abraham Lincoln was carried to the Petersen boarding house across the street where he died early the next morning.
Breakfast, Lunch

Sun/June 20 We depart Washington, DC this morning for Harper's Ferry. Here historian, Dennis Frye will meet us and take us back to the events of 1859. The United States in the first half of the 19th century was a nation divided on the issue of slavery. In the American South, slaves were the primary labor force on large plantations growing cotton, tobacco and other lucrative cash crops. But a growing chorus of voices was calling for an end to slavery. One of those voices belonged to abolitionist John Brown, who decided, in October 1859, to take matters into his own hands. His actions still stir controversy 150 years later.
Overnight inShepherdstown, WV.
Breakfast, Dinner

Mon/June 21 Today we will study the Battle of Antietam (1862) where we will meet General George McClellan. This battle is considered to be the bloodiest single day in American history. The results of the Battle and the entire 1862 Maryland Campaign also provided U.S. President Abraham Lincoln with the strategic Union victory he needed, giving him the opportunity to issue the famous Emancipation Proclamation. Considered one of the most pristine, unspoiled battlefields, visitors to Antietam often comment how they can practically hear the din of battle, see the massed ranks of soldiers in Blue and Gray, and smell the gunpowder.
Breakfast, Lunch

Tue/ June 22 We travel today into the mountains of WV and begin to dig deep into the characters of Jackson and McClellan, the two classmates from the West Point class of 1846. At our first stop, in Clarksburg, WV, we will visit Jackson's birth site and admire his striking equestrian statue in front of the courthouse. From there we will travel to his boyhood home in Weston and continue northeast to Philippi to revisit the site of the first skirmish of the Civil War on June 3, 1861, the first of McClellan's three early victories in the mountains, We will end the day and overnight in Elkins, WV.
Breakfast, Lunch

Wed/June 23 Today we revisit the battle of Rich Mountain on the old Staunton-Parkersburg Pike southwest of Elkins and west of Beverly. Here, McClellan won the battle that made his reputation and catapulted him to the highest command in the Union army in the Civil War. We will visit Beverly, where McClellan becomes acquainted with Jackson's sister, and revisit Corricks Ford, the site of the third of his three little victories. From there we return to Washington, roughly over the route through the mountains that McClellan followed to become general in chief of all the Union armies, and enjoy our farewell dinner.
Breakfast, Dinner

Thu/June 24 After breakfast you may transfer to the airport or choose to stay and enjoy the city.

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