One of the best parts about visiting Prince William County is all the Civil War era monuments, battlefields, and museums. While most of us learned about the Civil War in history classes in school, there is something about those history books coming live in front of your own eyes.

Besides Civil War reenactments that are held throughout the year in Northern Virginia, a visit to one of these spots in Prince William County will immediately bring the Civil War battles to life for you. Here are a few of our favorites:

Living History Lesson Tours in Prince William County

1.) Liberia Plantation: Operated by the Manassas Museum system, The Liberia Plantation was once one of the wealthiest plantations in Prince William County, with sheep, horses, cattle, and hogs on the property. After the start of the Civil War and Virginia seceded from the Union, the house became the main headquarters for General P. G. T. Beauregard and served as a hospital and ‘death house’. Currently the Manassas Museum is holding special tours and benefits to raise money in order to fully restore the plantation to it’s former glory and show visitors what it would have really looked like during the Civil War.

*Special Tour: Liberia Basement to Attic Tours

February 8 & 22 at 11:00 a.m. $15/person; all ages

2.) Brentsville Courthouse: Established in 1820, Brentsville was the county seat of Prince William for over 70 years. During the Civil War, Brentsville experienced the war first hand with a major battle only three miles away at the Battle of Bristoe Station. This historical site has been restored and takes visitors on a self-guided walking tour of the courthouse, church and farmhouse with further work on the one room schoolhouse and the jail to be completed in the near future. If you want a guided tour, call ahead and book one for only $5 dollars.

3.) Bristoe Station Battlefield Heritage Park: The Battle of Bristoe Station was fought by Robert E. Lee as one of the last major battles of the Civil War. This park is 2.7 of open air walking trails that bring hikers, bikers and walkers. Along the path you can see many wild animals and evidence of the war. Make sure to stop by the Alabama Cemetery located right off the beginning of the path to see a memorial to the men who lost their lives during the battle.

*See it on a tour: Guided tours are offered at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on the second and fourth weekend of the month from May through October. 

4.) Rippon Lodge: Located in a different area of Prince William County, start your tour in Woodbridge at the famous Rippon Lodge. For $5 dollars you can tour one of the oldest houses in Prince William County. The historic site is on 43 acres with walking trails, bird watching and strolls through the garden.

*Special guided tour: Join one of Rippon Lodge’s special luncheons that include a guide tour. This one and a half hour tour plus lunch gives visitors a unique look into Rippon Lodge and the surrounding estate. Lunches include chicken wraps and spinach salads.