Top American Civil War Sites To Visit Today

 
The Lincoln Address Memorial (top left) in the Gettysburg National Cemetery. The 2 small flanking markers for the 3rd NY Artillery monument (foreground) indicate the breadth of the unit's position. Photo Credit
 

The American Civil War was one of the bloodiest wars fought on American soil. Many of the war sites found throughout the eastern half of the United States have been very well preserved and are still easily visitable today.

In fact, many of these sites are large tourism draws for the various towns and states where they reside. If you’re planning a visit to the U.S., check out a few of our favorite Civil War sites below.

1. Gettysburg, Pa.

High_Water_Mark_-_Cemetery_Ridge,_Gettysburg_Battlefield

The “high water mark” at the Gettysburg Battlefield. Photo Credit

Of course, when most people think of the Civil War, they automatically think of Gettysburg. The important destination is only a short drive away from Philadelphia, making it an easy day trip if you’re already visiting the historic city.

Gettysburg was the site of not only President Abraham Lincoln’s all-important Gettysburg Address, but also remains a crucial turning point in the war, effectively making it very clear that this would not be one the Confederates would win. The spot is also a great one to visit if you’re interested in haunted history or paranormal travel, as it’s said that a large amount of ghosts of fallen soldiers reside on, near and around the battlefield.

2. Fort Sumter National Monument

The history books will tell you that the American Civil War began at Fort Sumter, when the Confederates first attacked. Now, the Union fort is located within Charleston, South Carolina, a great U.S. southern city to visit regardless of your travel itinerary.

Visitors not only walk the walls of the Fort, following in the footsteps of soldiers long before, but also come to see the museum and the sites nearby. One of those additional sites is a Confederate submarine that’s on display for those with an interest in historic naval combat.

3. Manassas National Battlefield Park

Period fence at Manassas Battlefield - By Billy Hathorn - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18364045

Period fence at Manassas Battlefield. Photo Credit

Manassas was the site of not one, but two Civil War battles, both of which were won by the Confederate troops under Stonewall Jackson. In fact, it was here that he actually earned his nickname. You can visit the battlefield, which has been very nicely preserved, as well as the on-site museum.

The staff are extremely helpful and very knowledgeable about the events which took place, from detailed troop movements to the spectators who came to watch the event from Washington, D.C., expecting an interesting skirmish, but receiving a bloody slaughter instead. Nearby are other interesting Civil War sites to visit, though none as major as the battlefield. These include plantations and war hospitals, which are still worth a visit.

4. Antietam, Md.

Image of the Sunken Road – "Bloody Lane". At the memorial Antietam National Battlefield, in northwestern Maryland. Public Domain

Image of the Sunken Road – “Bloody Lane”. At the memorial Antietam National Battlefield, in northwestern Maryland.

In Maryland, Antietam stands as a reminder of the single bloodiest day on American soil, during which thousands upon thousands died. The national battlefield is strikingly beautiful, however, whichever time of year you visit, and ‘living historians,’ as they call themselves, abound, dressed in Civil War garb and introducing visitors to the site’s tale.