Over the past 10 years I have had the great fortune to visit several War Between the States locations. I have always had a love for history but for some reason I had overlooked the second most significant war in American history. The first being of course would be the American Revolution. It was not until my Wife was on a business trip to Virginia and had some free time. So a colleague of hers suggested a visit to the Petersburg National Battlefield. She was amazed at the bloodshed that occurred at such a peaceful but eerie place. After speaking about it to me I decided to delve in head first and found a new passion in life.
Not only did I decide to visit as many of these places as possible I also quizzed my Mother and began to look into my ancestry. What I found was fascinating and almost unbelievable. I was the Great-Great Grandson of John Kincaid, a member of Company F, 9th Kentucky Cavalry Regiment Kentucky CSA. I implore anyone reading this to question your family members before it is too late. Because once they are gone much of the information you will eventually need to uncover your roots will be gone with them.
Despite my extensive travels there are still a few sites I have yet to visit like: Pea Ridge National Military Park and Prairie Grove State Battlefield in Arkansas, Ball’s Bluff Battlefield Regional Park and Hampton Roads / Mariners’ Museum Newport News in Virginia, Fort Donelson National Battlefield in Tennessee, Andersonville National Historic Site in Georgia and the Battle of Carthage State Historic Site & Museum in Missouri.
You will notice that Gettysburg is not listed and that is not an over site.
But what follows is a list of my 10 favorite sites that I have visited.
Considered by most to be one of the most beautiful and pristine Civil War battlefields, Antietam is a must-see for any history enthusiast. There is an excellent visitor center which is a good place to start your visit. Hiking trails and a 8.5 mile driving tour of the battlefield makes it easy to see this historic site.
See McClellan’s headquarters at Antietam — the Pry House
Stand inside the Dunker Church
Walk through the Bloody Cornfield
Walk the length of the Sunken Road
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park 14 miles.
Monocacy National Battlefield 30 miles.
Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park
Located in the northwest corner of Georgia at the foot of Lookout Mountain, Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park offers visitors beautiful landscapes in the midst of a somewhat well-preserved battlefield. Chickamauga’s numerous monuments and markers, driving tours and trails, and observation towers make visiting Chickamauga an inspiring experience for history buffs and nature enthusiasts alike.
See where George Thomas became the”Rock”
Stand atop Snodgrass Hill and tour the Chickamauga Battlefield
Lookout Mountain 13 miles.
Fort Sumter National Monument
To visit Fort Sumter you can take a ferry from either the Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center at Liberty Square (340 Concord St.) or from the Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum. Fort Sumter retains much of its history and mystique and is a must see for any Civil War buff.
Spend time in the great and historic City of Charleston
See the actual HL Hunley Submarine
See fortifications of war at Fort Moultrie
City of Franklin Tennessee
Set amidst the outskirts of Franklin, Tennessee, reclaimed portions of this historic landscape as well as interpretive centers at the Carter House and Carnton Plantation, provide visitors a unique window into this bloody 1864 battle.
Visit the McGavock Confederate Cemetery
Stand on Carnton’s porch — where four generals lay dead
Explore bullet-riddled history at the Carter House
Visit Fort Granger
Sam Davis Home
Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park
The historic town of Fredericksburg and its surrounding battlefields remains a must-see for all visitors interested in history and the Civil War. The town’s streets are still lined by historic homes and churches and was the site for some of the first urban combat in American history.
Visit the House and Grounds at Chatham Manor
Stand in the Sunken Road at Fredericksburg
See where the Battle of Fredericksburg was decided
Visit the City of Fredericksburg
Central Virginia boasts close proximity to many less famous Civil War clashes. The Park has brochures that contain a narrative summary of these battles, directions to the battlefields, a suggested tour route of the battlefield and a map of the battlefield for the following battles:
* Cedar Mountain – August 9, 1862
* Kelly’s Ford – Match 17, 1863
* Brandy Station – June 9, 1863
* Bristoe Station -October 14, 1863 (& Kettle Run, August 27, 1862)
* Rappahannock Station – November 7, 1863
* Mine Run Campaign – November 26 – December 1, 1863
* Todd’s Tavern – May 7, 1864
* Yellow Tavern – May 11, 1864
* North Anna – May 23-26, 1864
* Battle of Trevilian Station -June 11-12, 1864
Also the Jackson Shrine where Stonewall Jackson spent his final days.
New Market Battlefield State Historic Park
The three-hundred acre New Market Battlefield State Historical Park, the Virginia Museum of the Civil War, and the 19th Century Bushong Farm,commemorate a unique moment in American history— when college boys, Cadets from VMI, engaged in pitched battle and helped win a victory for the Confederate Army.
In the City of Lexington Virginia 77 miles
Robert E Lee’s final resting place Lee Chapel and Museum
Stonewall Jackson’s House
Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery and final resting place
Virginia Military Institute and Museum
Petersburg National Battlefield
The Petersburg National Battlefield Park commemorates the nine and one-half month siege of Petersburg from June 1864 to April 1865. The park includes 13 separate sites with three visitor centers along a 33 mile route. A full day is required to experience the entire battlefield park. A great place to start your visit is at the Eastern Front Visitor Center. There you can find maps, books, displays, and other audio-visual presentations.
Visit Blandford Church and Cemetery
Gaze into the Crater
See the wharves and Appomattox Manor at City Point
Walk the Dimmock line at Petersburg
Pamplin Historical Park 10 miles
Richmond Civil War Sites 24 miles
Shiloh National Military Park
Shiloh is one of the best preserved Civil War battlefields anywhere. Within the nearly 4,000 acre Shiloh National Military Park you can visit historic sites like the Bloody Pond, Hornet’s Nest, and the Albert Sidney Johnston death site. The visitor center also is filled with interesting artifacts and helpful touring information.
Visit the Hornets Nest at Shiloh
Tour the historic Shiloh National Cemetery
Stand where General Albert Sidney Johnston died
Walk Grant’s Last Line at Shiloh
Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center 26 miles
Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site 58 miles
Stones River National Battlefield
Located three miles northwest of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, is administered by the National Park Service. Tours and living history events are offered throughout the year.
See Fort Rosecrans
See the Slaughter Pen
See the Hazen Brigade Monument
Spring Hill Battlefield
Vicksburg National Military Park
Established in 1899, the Vicksburg National Military Park protects 1,728 acres of battlefield land encompassing the Union and Confederate trenches surrounding the city and overlooking the Mississippi River. 16 miles of tour road provide visitors easy access to the parks many sites and monuments. The park visitor center and the U.S.S. Cairo museum provide unique exhibits and artifacts for further exploration.
Walk through the remains of the gunboat USS Cairo
Visit the Shirley House
Vicksburg Old Court House Museum 2 miles
Champion Hill 22 miles
Port Gibson 31 miles