Hired guides can customize Civil War battlefield visit

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Would you like your Civil War history seasoned with baseball trivia? Spritzed up with a winery tour? Do you long to dissect the Battle of Antietam with a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian?

Hire a guide.

As the 150th anniversary of the war between the states approaches, starting with John Brown's 1859 prewar raid at Harpers Ferry, W.Va., customized tours for people fascinated by the conflict are multiplying.

As little as $50 buys a two-hour, private guided tour of Antietam, site of the bloodiest day of the war, or Gettysburg National Military Park, the high-water mark of the Confederacy, in neighboring Pennsylvania.

Those thirsting for more knowledge can join multistate bus tours of up to six days led by scholars including James McPherson, whose 1988 book, "Battle Cry of Freedom" won a Pulitzer and helped rekindle interest in the conflict. The cost of the marathon trek, offered by Civil War Tours of Winchester, Conn.: $950, excluding hotel lodging.

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