War & the Creation of Arlington Cemetery - Atlas Obscura Experiences
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War & the Creation of Arlington Cemetery

2.5 hours
$30 per person
Up to 10 people
See Dates
$30 per person
Arlington, Virginia
What We’ll Do

Ever wondered how Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) became the nation’s premiere national military cemetery?

Join a former ANC historian on a walking tour of the cemetery and explore the transformation of a 1,100 acre working plantation with links to George Washington, through its use as a U.S. military encampment throughout the Civil War, to the eventual establishment of a national cemetery.

Along the way, participants will discuss Arlington’s role in defending Washington, D.C. from Confederate attack; the initial military burials in 1864 as well as the establishment of a national cemetery; the creation of a Freedman’s Village on the property and the contribution of African-Americans to ANC; an examination of the unprecedented carnage of the Civil War; and Arlington’s role as a national symbol of remembrance.

The experience also includes graveside visits throughout the cemetery highlighting the military service of both Union and Confederate soldiers.

Where We’ll Be

This 2 ½ hour walking tour begins at the Arlington National Cemetery Welcome Center and continues through various sections of the cemetery. We will make frequent stops to talk history, examine memorials, and visit the graves of numerous soldiers and civilians. ANC is hilly in places, so expect to get your steps in as we experience the cemetery together.

About Your Host

Hi. I’m Chris, a member of the Atlas Obscura Community.

I am a former Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) historian, and my Ph.D. dissertation examines the treatment of Confederate dead at ANC. For the past decade I have been a historian and curator in the Washington, D.C. region, and have given dozens of historical tours in the area. I love sharing lesser-known aspects of American history with the public. In addition to my work as a historian and curator, I routinely lecture on historic topics to a wide variety of audiences including foreign embassies, museums, historical societies, and professional organizations. Prior to my current employment, I was an FBI special agent (seriously!) and am a U.S. Air Force veteran.

For questions about this experience, please contact me directly through Airbnb.

What Else You Should Know

All guests will go through metal detectors and security upon entering Arlington National Cemetery.
Guests must be able to walk and stand for the duration of the experience.
This experience will run rain or shine.

Group Size

There are 10 spots available on this experience.

Who Can Come

Guests ages 14 and up can attend.

What to Bring
  • Appropriate clothing for the weather
  • Comfortable shoes (closed toe-we'll be walking in grass)
  • Water (you can buy a bottle at ANC as well)
  • Bug repellent (not essential but nice)
  • Hat & sunglasses (for shade)
Cancellation Policy

Any experience can be canceled and fully refunded within 24 hours of purchase. See cancellation policy.

Dates and Availability

There are no upcoming experiences at the moment. Fill out the form below to be notified when we add new dates.

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