Location: Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Robert E. Lee's 75,000-man Confederate army was pushing into the North when it ran into the Army of the Potomac, 90,000 strong, on July 1, 1863. The resulting three-day bloodbath ranks — even today — as the biggest battle ever fought in the Western Hemisphere, with 51,000 men killed, wounded, or missing.
What to See: With 1.7 million tourists a year, Gettysburg is America's most visited battleground. See the monuments and clamber around Devil's Den, but don't miss the quiet cemetery, dedicated by Abraham Lincoln with his stirring address.
What's nearby: Adjacent to the battlefield is the home of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Besides Ike's house, visit his Black Angus cattle farm.
Location: Palmito Ranch, Texas
Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant in April 1865, but in Texas, Rebel forces fought on. On May 13 nearly 200 Confederates skirmished with some 500 Union soldiers near Brownsville. The Union lost 115 men; the Confederates, none. A month after Appomattox, the Confederates won the final battle of the Civil War.
What to See: While most Civil War sites are threatened by encroaching development, this remote spot at Texas's southern tip looks much as it did in 1865, aside from a small historical marker on Route 4. No buildings remain from the era — just the ruins of a former rail line and the bullets, buttons, and cannonballs that keep turning up across the battlefield.
What's nearby: The Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, about 12 miles west, specializes in breeding endangered wildlife species from around the world, like the Galápagos tortoise.