Past is Prologue

Clint Schemmer writes about history, heritage preservation and the American Civil War.  On Facebook: Past is Prologue  On Twitter: @prologuepast  ContactEmail Clint or call 540/374-5424.

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Cool Trip Planner is Part of NPS Civil War 150 Site

CHESTERFIELD, Va.–The National Park Service’s new Civil War website has many bells and whistles, but one particularly stands out: its “Plan Your Visit” tool.

Mike Litterst, of the Park Service’s Communications Office in Washington, took the site for a spin Wednesday in Chesterfield County, Va., during a press preview of the Richmond area’s impressive plans for the 150 anniversaryies of the Peninsula Campaign–which began Wednesday–the Seven Days’ Battles around the Confederate capital.

The most impressive feature that Litterst shared during a lightning-fast demonstration was the site’s “Plan Your Visit” tool, which includes more than 1,700 Civil War sites around the country, including more than 100 national parks with lore from the War Between the States. In seconds, this interactive mapping gizmo enables user to build itineraries linking National Park Service spots with state and privately Civil War-themed historic sites and museums. The tool provides maps, driving distances, turn-by-turn directions, site descriptions, and links to more information about each place.

Litterst showed how, with a few taps of the trackpad, people could plan a journey to Civil War sites from northwest Washington state (San Juan Island National Historical Park, where Gen. George Pickett first gained prominence ( to Fort Jefferson in the Florida Keys, where Union prisoners were held. Today, the fort is part of Dry Tortugas National Park (

Once you’ve built your itinerary, you can print it, tweet it, post it to Facebook, or share it via a variety of other web and social-media sites.