Every history buff will love these Civil War sites!
Are you ready to embark on an exciting journey through time? From museums to battlefields, there are many Civil War sites that offer a captivating glimpse into one of the most climactic periods in our nation’s past.
The locations we’ll be uncovering hold stories of sacrifice, bravery, and resilience, each with a unique tale to tell.
Whether you’re a seasoned history buff or just beginning to discover the wonders of the past, these spots promise to leave an unforgettable mark on your understanding of America’s defining conflict.
Join us as we traverse the hallowed grounds where soldiers once fought in the struggle for freedom and unity. From Gettysburg to Antietam, these sites are poignant reminders of our nation’s unchanging spirit.
So grab your curiosity and sense of adventure as we delve into the heart of American history. Adventure In America is exploring 9 extraordinary Civil War sites that every history enthusiast must experience firsthand.
Let the exploration begin!
Fort Sumter, Charleston, South Carolina
You can start your Civil War site adventure where the war really began, in Charleston, South Carolina. This is where the first Confederate shots were fired at Fort Sumter, a Union fort throughout the Civil War.
Another Civil War site in the area worth visiting is Fort Moultrie. Formerly a Union garrison, it was deserted after the South Carolina Secession of 1860. A few months later, Confederate soldiers commandeered it to use in the Civil War.
And if you wish to see a Civil War submarine, go see the H.L. Hunley. This is the Confederate submarine that hit the USS Housatonic, sinking it on February 17th, 1864.
The crew of the submarine are buried at the Magnolia Cemetery, another incredible Civil War site in Charleston. Dating back to 1850, this cemetery is also where over 2,200 Civil War veterans, 84 Confederate soldiers, and 14 signers of the Ordinance of Secession are laid to rest.
Richmond National Battlefield Park, Varina, Virginia
Richmond National Battlefield Park is actually a collection of a few historic battlefields depicting some of the most violent fighting in the American Civil War, including the Seven Days Battles.
It was the capital of the Confederacy, which means that, between 1861 and 1865, Richmond and its surrounding areas were at the epicenter of a bloody tug-of-war between the Confederate and Union armies.
With such a vast collection of Civil War sites, your visit to Richmond National Battlefield Park at the Tredegar Iron Works is worth starting.
Shiloh Battlefield, Shiloh, Tennessee
Shiloh Battlefield in Shiloh National Military Park was the spot of a Union victory in April 1862 during the Civil War.
Also known as the Battle of Shiloh or the Battle of Pittsburgh Landing, this conflict saw the Confederates, who were led by General Albert Sidney Johnston, ascend an initially victorious surprise attack on the Union army of General Ulysses S. Grant, just to be defeated by the very next day.
Johnston was slaughtered during the battle. Nowadays, this Civil War site is part of the National Parks network and offers travelers a range of exhibits and tours to explore the region’s history.
Bentonville Battlefield, Bentonville, North Carolina
Journey to this Civil War site and learn about one of the most significant battles on North Carolina soil. You can tour the inside of a Civil War-era historic home, the Harper House. Union troops occupied the house during the Bentonville battle.
In spite of the fights that took place here, the house still stands to this day. We also recommend trekking from Bentonville to Durham and visiting Bennett Place.
This now serene Piedmont farmstead used to be a meeting place for leaders, Union General William T. Sherman and Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston.
Here is where they signed the South’s surrender papers in 1864. It was the largest concession during the American Civil War.
Fort Donelson Battlefield, Dover, Tennessee
Fort Donelson Battlefield was the location of a harsh and pivotal battle fought for six days in February 1862. Involved were the Unionists, commanded by General Ulysses S. Grant, and the Confederates, led by General John B. Floyd.
After a couple of probing invasions and a naval gunship battle triumphed by the Confederates, the Unionists began gaining momentum due to Grant’s reinforcements.
By February 16th, the Confederates had suffered considerable losses, and Confederate General Buckner asked Grant for terms to finish the fighting. Grant’s now famous reply was, “No terms except an unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted.”
And so, Buckner yielded. When visiting this Civil War site, you can learn about the battle, its parties, and its results through a six-mile self-guided tour and the Fort Donelson cemetery.
Gettysburg Battlefield, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Everyone knows about the Gettysburg Address! Delivered on November 19th, 1863, in Pennsylvania, this is President Abraham Lincoln’s most famous speech ever.
In less than three minutes, he repeated the importance of human equality established by the Declaration of Independence. This speech occurred almost five months after the Union soldiers overpowered the Confederates at the Battle of Gettysburg.
Delivered at the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, this was Lincoln’s declaration of the war as a new birth of freedom that would ultimately result in true equality for everyone.
A significant turning point in the Civil War, the Battle of Gettysburg noted the end of General Robert E. Lee’s second and most brazen invasion of the North.
The struggle lasted three days and concluded with 51,000 casualties, making it the bloodiest battle of the war and the largest ever fought in North America.
Brice’s Crossroads Battlefield, Tupelo, Mississippi
On June 10th, 1864, Brice’s Crossroads Battlefield was the location of a conflict between 4,786 Confederate troops directed by Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest and 8,100 Union soldiers overseen by Brigadier General Samuel D. Sturgis.
By this period, the Union had triumphed in quite a few important battles, including Chattanooga and Gettysburg.
In fact, the reason that the Battle of Brice’s Crossroads even transpired was that Sturgis had been sent there by Major General William T. Sherman. Nowadays, this Civil War site is a National Park overseen by the Natchez Trace Parkway.
It doesn’t have any visitor facilities. But Brice’s Crossroads Visitor and Interpretive Center, which is nearby, offers insight into the battle.
Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, Republic, Missouri
Missouri played a much bigger role in the Civil War than most people acknowledge. In fact, only Tennessee and Virginia saw more war-related squabbles on their territory.
Located a quick drive from the summer playground Lake of the Ozarks, Wilson’s Creek was the setting of a Confederate victory, and today, the location is home to an informative museum that describes the state’s role in the war.
Antietam National Battlefield, Sharpsburg, Maryland
In September 1862, both Union and Confederate soldiers marched throughout the state of Maryland to meet at the Battle of Antietam.
Nowadays, you can drive through the soldiers’ trails beginning where General Robert E. Lee traversed the Potomac River into Maryland state at Whites Ford and then to Frederick.
Along your way, you can stop to explore the infantry and cavalry action that happened. Once you pass Frederick, you’ll keep going through Middletown to get to South Mountain.
The finish line of this driving tour is the famous Antietam Battlefield. This Civil War site was the location of the bloodiest single-day battle of the entire Civil War.
Have you ever been to any of these important Civil War sites? If you haven’t, be sure to pack your camera when you go to take lots of memorable snaps!