The 10 Most Historic Battlefields in Pennsylvania

Gettysburg
© iStock.com/Delmas Lehman

Written by Joyce Nash

Published: February 15, 2024

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Thanks to its strategic location, Pennsylvania has been the site of several important battles throughout the history of the United States. Pennsylvania forts and battlefields have played a role in multiple conflicts, including the French and Indian War, Revolutionary War, and the Civil War. Keep reading to learn about the 10 most historic battlefields in Pennsylvania.

10. Brandywine Battlefield Park

Gideon Gilpin House at Brandywine Battlefield, Pennsylvania

The Gideon Gilpin House is part of Brandywine Battlefield Park.

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On September 11, 1777, General George Washington led the Continental Army in battle against the British to prevent them from holding the city of Philadelphia. Although Washington’s forces lost the battle, the Continental Army proved itself as a capable match to Britain at the Battle of Brandywine.

Today, the Brandywine Battlefield Park preserves the history of the largest single-day conflict of the American Revolution. The 52-acre park offers guided tours and educational presentations for visitors to learn about the Battle of Brandywine.

9. Paoli Battlefield Historical Park

Paoli Battlefield Historic Park in Malvern, Pennsylvania

The Paoli Battlefield Historical Park contains stone monuments and an obelisk to honor the soldiers who perished there.

©Aimee Evoli / CC BY-SA 4.0 - Original / License

In Malvern, Pennsylvania, the Paoli Battlefield Historical Park commemorates a battle during the American Revolution known as the “Paoli Massacre.” On the night of September 20, 1777, British forces decimated a division of the Continental Army. 

The Paoli Battlefield Historical Park encompasses 40 acres. Visitors can follow a self-guided tour along a short trail to learn about the history of this battle.

8. Historic Daniel Lady Farm

Daniel Lady Farm in Gettysburg

The Daniel Lady Farm played an important role during the Battle of Gettysburg.

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The Historic Daniel Lady Farm is located a short distance from the Gettysburg Battlefield Historic District. During the Battle of Gettsburg, Daniel Lady Farm played an important role as a staging area for Confederate troops during their attack on Culp’s Hill. In addition, the farm served as a field hospital for Confederate troops.

Visitors to Daniel Lady Farm can explore the building’s historic significance with tours, reenactments, and living history demonstrations. In addition, the farm hosts events throughout the year.

7. Fort Ligonier

Fort Ligonier in Pennsylvania.

Although it sustained attacks, Fort Ligonier was never taken by enemy forces.

©Michelle A. Leppert / CC BY-SA 3.0 - Original / License

Located in southwestern Pennsylvania near the banks of the Loyalhanna Creek, Fort Ligonier was the site of an important battle during the French and Indian War. The fort was a stronghold for British forces, who successfully held off Native American and French forces during an attack in October 1758.

Today, Fort Ligonier welcomes visitors to explore the fort’s buildings and defenses. In addition, the museum contains historical artifacts and educational displays about the French and Indian War.

6. Washington Crossing Historic Park

Cement Steps at Washington Crossing

At Washington Crossing Historic Park, stairs lead down to the Delaware River to highlight General George Washington’s crossing.

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On December 25, 1776, General George Washington made his famous crossing of the Delaware River before marching to Trenton, New Jersey to deliver a resounding defeat to Hessian forces. Today, Washington Crossing Historic Park commemorates the site in Pennsylvania where Washington and his forces began their fateful crossing. The park features restored buildings, educational displays, and the gravesites of Revolutionary War soldiers. 

5. Bushy Run Battlefield

Historic log cabin at Bushy Run Battlefield in Pennsylvania.

At Bushy Run Battlefield, visitors can explore a restored colonial log cabin.

©Regis Mahoy/Shutterstock.com

Stretching for over 200 acres, Bushy Run Battlefield preserves the site of an important 1763 battle during Pontiac’s War. During this conflict, Native American tribes united to resist colonization by European forces. 

Bushy Run Battlefield is the only historical site dedicated to the history of Pontiac’s War. Visitors can tour the battlefield or explore one of the many walking trails.

4. Fort Mifflin

Building Landmark Fort Mifflin, Philadelphia, PA

Originally a British stronghold, Continental forces captured Fort Mifflin during the Revolutionary War.

©Andrew J Simcox/Shutterstock.com

Situated on the banks of the Delaware River just south of Philadelphia, Fort Mifflin was an important stronghold for troops during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. In 1777, Continental troops held off British ships from resupplying their forces, allowing General George Washington to get his troops safely to Valley Forge. 

During the Civil War, Fort Mifflin was used to hold Confederate prisoners of war. Today, Fort Mifflin has a reputation for paranormal activity. Visitors have reported hearing eerie sounds and even seeing an apparitions like “The Screaming Lady” and “The Faceless Ghost.”

3. Fort Necessity National Battlefield

Fort Necessity National Battlefield

Visitors can explore the restored fort at Fort Necessity National Battlefield.

©J. Norman Reid/Shutterstock.com

In 1754, the opening battle of the French and Indian War was fought at Fort Necessity in southwestern Pennsylvania. Here, George Washington led British forces in skirmishes against French forces, who were working to maintain control of the area.

At Fort Necessity National Battlefield, visitors can start their tour at the Visitor Center, which offers an educational movie as well as the opportunity to learn from park rangers. From there, visitors can explore the Great Meadows and Fort Necessity, followed by a hike to the Mount Washington Tavern.

2. Valley Forge National Historical Park

The National Memorial Arch at Valley Forge is a monument dedicated to George Washington and the United States Continental Army

At the Valley Forge National Historic Park, visitors can explore over 35 acres with historic buildings and educational monuments.

©Amy Lutz/Shutterstock.com

During the American Revolution, Valley Forge in southeastern Pennsylvania was the site chosen by George Washington to camp through the winter of 1777-1778. While Valley Forge National Historic Park is not a battlefield, it commemorates one of the most important periods for the Continental Army in its fight for independence.

Washington and his army endured extreme circumstances while at Valley Forge, including a lack of food, clothing, and supplies. However, Washington’s leadership – bolstered by successfully winning a French alliance – brought his soldiers through the winter and launched a successful campaign against the British in Philadelphia the following summer. 

1. Gettysburg National Military Park

Gettysburg

The Battle of Gettysburg in southern Pennsylvania inspired President Lincoln to write the Gettysburg Address.

©iStock.com/Delmas Lehman

One of the most important battles in the Civil War occurred in southern Pennsylvania near the Town of Gettysburg. In 1863, the Union and Confederate armies faced off in the Battle of Gettysburg, the war’s bloodiest conflict. Union General George Meade claimed victory over Confederate General Robert E. Lee, thwarting Lee’s northern invasion.

The Gettysburg National Military Park preserves the battlefield and its history. Visitors can learn about this historic event in ranger-led Gettysburg Battle Walks, Campfire Programs, Living History Programs, or at one of the park’s annual events.


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About the Author

Joyce Nash is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering travel and geography. She has almost a decade of writing experience. Her background ranges from journalism to farm animal rescues and spans the East Coast to the West. She is based in North Carolina, and in her free time, she enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time with her husband and two cats.

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