Civil War issue: Little Round Top near Gettysburg, Pa.

A monument to the Union Army’s chief engineer, Brig. Gen. Gouveneur Kemble Warren, looks out over Little Round Top near Gettysburg, Pa. For the next four years, Gettysburg will host special sesquicentennial events. (Chronicle Books)

The remembrance of the 150th anniversary of the first shots of the Civil War at Ft. Sumter, S.C., underway until April 17 will give rise to a host of reenactments throughout the nation until 2015, although you're unlikely to see one on a National Park Service battlefield. That's because policy usually prohibits battle reenactments on NPS land, so the redux will more than likely be on a nearby field.

Still, there are plenty of engagements to watch. Many battles have two names because the North named skirmishes after the nearest body of water (Bull Run), and the South named conflicts after the nearest town ( Manassas). Most sesquicentennial events will be scheduled for the weekend closest to the battle's anniversary date.

Here are five reenactments set for this year and next, chosen for their significance to the war.

Gettysburg, Pa.

July 1-3

Gettysburg was a crucial defeat in 1863 that forced Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee to retreat to Virginia after losing more than a third of his troops. Gettysburg will host special sesquicentennial events the next four years, with the largest turnout expected in 2013. This summer, 3,000 to 4,000 reenactors and 20,000 spectators are expected.

Recommended airport: Baltimore Washington International ( BWI), 61 miles from Gettysburg

Info: Gettysburg National Military Park, (717) 334-1124, Ext. 8023, http://www.nps.gov/gett

Gettysburg Foundation, http://www.gettysburgfoundation.org

Gettysburg Convention & Visitors Bureau-150, http://www.gettysburg.travel/150

Battle of First Manassas/Bull Run, Va.

July 21-24

Manassas/Bull Run in Virginia, the first major battle of the Civil War, on July 21, 1861. Northern civilians from Washington, D.C., brought picnic lunches to watch the battle, expecting the South to be quickly defeated. Instead, the Confederates prevailed.

Next year, the Battle of Second Manassas (Aug. 28-30, 1862), which the South also won, will be reenacted.

Recommended airport: Dulles International Airport (IAD), 18 miles from Manassas

Info: Manassas National Battlefield Park, (703) 361-1339, http://www.nps.gov/mana

Prince William County/Manassas Visitor's Bureau-150th Civil War Manassas/Bull Run, http://www.manassasbullrun.com

Battle of Cedar Creek/Belle Grove, Va.

Oct. 15 and 16