Sesquicentennial 150

On April 12, 2011, President Barack Obama issued the following proclamation:

"On this milestone in American history, we remember the great cost of the unity and liberty we now enjoy, causes for which so many have laid down their lives."

Beginning in 2011, the United States will celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War.  Celebrations will be held throughout the country to commemorate events associated with the conflict.  We encourage you to learn what is happening in your community.

For the latest information, please see Civil War Sesquicentennial Network on Facebook.

Teachers may be interested in Teaching the Civil War during the 150th Anniversary which will be held on March 19 and 20, 2011 at Gettysburg College. This event is sponsored by the Civil War Preservation Trust and the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College.

For other Sesquicentennial events, please check Civil War 2011, The American Civil War, ... 150 Years Later and Civil War 150 by the Washington Post.

With the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War upon us, we decided to compile a list of 150 places you should see over the next five years.  Please contact us if we have missed your sesquicentennial event.

Please click on the following link to download the 20-page pdf of the Sesquicentennial 150.

1861 - Visit in 2011

  1. Experience the American Civil War through eyewitnesses at The National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, PA.  The museum incorporates collections of artifacts, manuscripts, documents, photographs, and other printed matter that exceed 24,000 items. 

  2. The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC houses an extraordinary array of Civil War artifacts in nearly a dozen of its museums and archives. They range in interest from personal effects such as Abraham Lincoln’s black beaver top hat to examples of uniforms and weapons.

  3. Learn about Union President Abraham Lincoln by visiting these sites around Springfield, IL.

  4. Learn about Abraham Lincoln's parents at the Lincoln Homestead State Park in Kentucky.

  5. Visit The Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library near Biloxi, MS to learn about the President of the Confederacy.

  6. The history of "Bleeding Kansas" is explained at the Kansas Historical Society in Topeka, KS.

  7. See how the future Civil War leaders were trained at the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY.

  8. Learn how Col. Robert E. Lee captured John Brown and stopped the insurrection at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in Harpers Ferry, WV.

  9. See where the war began at Fort Sumter National Monument in Charleston, SC harbor.

  10. Six Civil War Trails interpretive markers trace the evolution of the April 19, 1861, Baltimore "riot" that erupted when Union soldiers destined for Washington DC made their way from the President Street Station to the Camden Railroad Station. The Trail follows the fate of the 6th Massachusetts Regiment as the soldiers battled angry secessionists for two hours through downtown Baltimore. This was the first bloodshed of the war following the surrender at Fort Sumter. Signs are located along President, Pratt and Howard streets in the city's Inner Harbor area. For more information about the riot and the walking tour, visit the President Street Station Civil War Museum (see below) and the Baltimore Visitor Center located on the waterfront near Light Street.

  11. Discover Texas' role in the Civil War at the Texas Civil War Museum in Fort Worth, TX.

  12. Union regiments under General George B. McClellan attacked and defeated Confederate troops defending a strategic mountain pass on the Staunton-Parkersburg Pike.  This Union victory, west of the town of Beverly, gave the Federal forces control over much of Appalachian northwestern Virginia, and allowed these counties to form the government that eventually lead to the creation of West Virginia. The Rich Mountain Battlefield is about 5 miles west of Beverly. Pick up information about the battle and a Civil war walking tour of Beverly at the Beverly Heritage Center.

  13. On July 21st two armies of a divided nation clashed for the first time on the fields overlooking Bull Run. Ten hours of heavy fighting removed any ideas that the war's outcome would be decided quickly. Experience the First Battle of Manassas at Manassas National Battlefield Park in Manassas, VA.

  14. Visit the Wilson's Creek National Battlefield near Springfield, MO to see the site of the first major Civil War battle fought west of the Mississippi River, and the scene of the death of Nathaniel Lyon, the first Union general killed in combat.

  15. Confederate General Evans stopped a badly coordinated attempt by Union forces under General Stone to cross the Potomac at Harrison’s Island and capture Leesburg. More than 700 Union troops were captured and Col. Edward D. Baker (a U.S. Senator) was killed. Visit the Ball's Bluff Battlefield and National Cemetery which is located off of Rte. 15 just south of Rte. 7 on Battlefield Parkway in Virginia.

  16. Explore The Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, VA three floors of galleries containing the world's most comprehensive collection of artifacts, manuscripts, and photographs from the Confederate States of America.

  17. The Missouri Civil War Museum will be opening on April 12, 2011 at the Jefferson Barracks south of St. Louis, MO. The museum explains the role that Missouri played in the Civil War.

    • Be sure to visit the Jefferson Barracks where many future Civil War generals were posted before and after the Mexican-American War.

  18. Understand the role that African American soldiers and sailors played in the Civil War at the African American Civil War Memorial Freedom Foundation and Museum in Washington, DC.

  19. The Civil War Soldiers Museum in Pensacola, FL tells the role that Pensacola played in the Civil War.

  20. Arlington House was the home of Robert E. Lee and his family for 30 years and is now preserved as a memorial to General Lee. Visit the Arlington House near in the Arlington National Cemetery in  Washington, DC.

  21. Nine days after the start of the Civil War, Clara Barton tended to wounded Massachusetts soldiers quartered in the U.S. Senate chamber in Washington. Then after the First Battle of Bull Run, July 21, Barton established the main agency to obtain and distribute supplies to wounded soldiers. Learn more about this remarkable woman at the Clara Barton National Historic Site in Glen Echo, MD.

  22. Frederick Douglass escaped from slavery to spend his life fighting for justice and equality for all people. His tireless struggle, transformative words, and inclusive vision of humanity continue to inspire and sustain people today. Visit Cedar Hall, the Frederick Douglas National Historic Site, in Washington, DC to learn more.
  23. Visit the Civil War Museum in Kenosha WI to learn about the Midwest’s role in the Civil War. The main interactive exhibit, “The Fiery Trail,” features personal stores of the area’s soldiers and civilians using artifacts and dioramas.
  24. The Battle of Belmont was fought on November 7, 1861, in Mississippi County, Missouri. It was the first combat test for Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. Grant's troops in this battle were the "nucleus" of the Union's notable Army of the Tennessee. The Columbus-Belmont State Park near Columbus KY features a 2.5-mile walking trail along the bluffs and the Confederate-built fortifications there. Pieces of artillery and the anchor chain once obstructing the river are on display as well.
  25. Five galleries in the Mississippi River Museum on Mud Island in Memphis, TN are devoted to the Civil War. Highlight is a simulated battle between a gunboat and a river battery (very near where a real one happened).  A reproduction of the front of a Union gunboat, uniforms, artillery pieces and many other items related to the war on the Mississippi are on display. The role of the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers also is examined.

1862 - Visit in 2012

  1. The Lloyd Tilghman House and Civil War Museum in Paducah KY was the pre-war home of Confederate Gen. Lloyd Tilghman and occupied by Union troops in 1861. The museum highlights the war in Western Kentucky.

  2. See where General U. S. Grant earned his nickname of "Unconditional Surrender" Grant. The Union capture of Fort Donelson is described at Fort Donelson National Battlefield near Dover, TN.

  3. Visit Pea Ridge National Military Park on route 62 in Arkansas where Union forces won Missouri for the Union.

  4. The naval engagement between the USS Monitor and CSS Virginia is described at The Mariners' Museum at Hampton Roads, VA.

  5. Visit the Kernstown Battlefield where Col. Nathan Kimball, stopped General "Stonewall" Jackson at Kernstown and then counterattacked turning Jackson’s left flank and forcing him to retreat.

  6. Pecos National Historic Park is the site of the Battle of Glorieta Pass where Union forces stopped Confederate incursions into the Southwest.

  7. Visit Fort Macon State Park where Union forces under Burnside demonstrated the inadequacy of masonry forts against large-bore, rifled artillery.

  8. General Grant rallies Union troops to victory on the second day of the Battle of Shiloh. Relive the Civil War's bloodiest battle at Shiloh National Military Park.

  9. Union rifled artillery breached the southeast scarp of Fort Pulaski and illustrated the vulnerability of masonry forts. Learn more about the fort by visiting Fort Pulaski National Monument in Savannah, GA.

  10. Take a drive  from New Orleans 70 miles south of New Orleans on Louisiana SH-23 to Fort Jackson where Union Flag Officer David G. Farragut's fleet passed to force the surrender of New Orleans.

  11. Relive the great train chase and see The General at The Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History.

  12. Learn about New Orleans before and after Union occupation at Confederate Memorial Hall.

  13. General Halleck's Union forces take Corinth in June when General Beauregard abandons the city. That fall, Rosecrans' forces repulse attacks from Van Dorn's Confederates.  The battles of Corinth are described at the Corinth. Interpretive Center

  14. Union forces under General John C. Frémont were defeated by Confederate troops under General Richard S. Ewell in the Shenandoah Valley. Visit the site of the Battle of Cross Keys in Cross Keys, VA.

  15. The Battle of Port Republic was the final engagement in General "Stonewall" Jackson's Shenandoah Valley Campaign.  Jackson drove out the Union and gained control of the valley.

  16. Confederate forces repel a Union frontal assault against Fort Lamar at Secessionville.

  17. General A. P. Hill defeats General Fitz John Porter at Beaver Dam Creek, the second battle of the Seven Days' campaign, which is part of the Richmond National Battlefield.

  18. General Lee defeats General Porter at Gaines' Mill, the third battle of the Seven Days' campaign, which is part of the Richmond National Battlefield.

  19. Longstreet’s and Hill’s attacks rout McCall’s division at Glendale, the fifth battle of the Seven Days' campaign, which is part of the Richmond National Battlefield.

  20. Lee's forces suffer more than 5,300 casualties in assaults on the Union position on Malvern Hill, the sixth battle of the Seven Days' campaign, which is part of the Richmond National Battlefield.

  21. Explore the Civil War era submarine recovered from Lake Pontchartrain displayed at the Louisiana State Museum in Baton Rouge, LA and visit the Historic Magnolia Cemetery which was the site of heavy fighting during the Battle of Baton Rouge.

  22. A Confederate counterattack led by A.P. Hill repulsed Nathaniel Banks’ Federals and won the day at Cedar Mountain, VA. See the points of interest on the Cedar Mountain Battlefield.

  23. Generals Lee, Jackson and Longstreet defeat General John Pope at Second Manassas.  Longstreet’s wing of 28,000 men counterattacked in the largest, simultaneous mass assault of the war. Tour the battlefield at Manassas National Battlefield Park in Manassas, VA.

  24. Visit the site of the Battle of Richmond where Generals Patrick Cleburne and Kirby Smith defeated two Union brigades and captured 4,000 men.

  25. Walk the battlefields above Harpers Ferry, WV where General "Stonewall" Jackson's artillery  forced the Union to surrender over 12,000 troops.

  26. McClellan's forces drive Lee's troops from South Mountain passes.  Visit the South Mountain State Battlefield to learn more.

  27. At the Battle of Munfordville, General Braxton Bragg convinced Col. John T. Wilder, commander of the Union garrison at Munfordville, KY, to surrender his forces. 

  28. The Bloody Battle at Antietam at the Antietam National Battlefield.

  29. Walk the 7-miles of trails in the Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site where General Don Carlos Buell forced General Braxton Bragg's Army of the Mississippi to withdrew into East Tennessee and give the Union control of Kentucky.

  30. Northeast of Nashville, TN is the site of the Battle of Hartsville. There is a driving tour of the battlefield and graves of the Confederate dead.

  31. Although the battle ended in a stalemate, General Hindman retreated to Van Buren, AK and the Union established control of northwest Arkansas. Visit Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park to learn more about the engagement and to walk one of America's most intact Civil War battlefields.

  32. General Lee inflicts 13,000 casualties on General Burnside's Army of the Potomac at the Battle of Fredericksburg.  Visit Marye's Heights, Lee Drive, and The Slaughter Pen Farm at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County Battlefields Memorial.

  33. Bedford Forest's have to "Charge 'em both ways" when a Union force attacks their rear at the Battle of Parker's Crossroads.  Learn more about this brilliant cavalry officer at The Parker's Crossroads Battlefield at Parker's Crossroads, TN.

  34. Tour the Stones River National Battlefield where Confederate forces under General Braxton Bragg drove General William S. Rosecrans’ Union Army of the Cumberland across McFadden’s Ford. Union artillery forced the Confederate to retire and eventually retreat.

1863 - Visit in 2013

  1. Maj. Gen. John B. Magruder recaptures  Galveston for the Confederacy.

  2. Lee wins his greatest victory but losses Jackson at the Battle of Chancellorsville which is described at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County Battlefields Memorial.

  3. Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson died in an outbuilding on the Chandler plantation in the rural community of Guinea Station. Today, the Jackson Shrine is part of Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park. The Stonewall Jackson Shrine is open 9-5 on Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays only through the end of April. It will be open daily from May 1 through October 27 The grounds are open daily from dawn to dusk. 

  4. General U.S. Grant captures Vicksburg which is described at the Vicksburg National Military Park in Vicksburg, MS.

  5. See the Union ironclad USS Cairo at the U.S.S. Cairo Gunboat and Museum at the Vicksburg National Military Park in Vicksburg, MS.

  6. National Civil War Naval Museum at Port Columbus, GA is a 40,000-square-foot facility that features two original American Civil War military vessels, uniforms, equipment and weapons used by the Union and Confederate navies. It is the only museum in the nation that tells the story of the two navies during the Civil War.

  7. After the fall of Vicksburg, the Confederate garrison of Port Hudson surrendered, opening the Mississippi River to Union navigation from its source to New Orleans. The battle is described at the Port Hudson State Historic Site.

  8. The Battle of Brandy Station was the largest cavalry battle of the war and the opening engagement of the Gettysburg Campaign.

  9. General Richard Ewell's drove General Robert Milroy's troops from entrenchments at Winchester, cleared the Valley of Union troops, and opened the door for Lee’s second invasion of the North.

  10. Walk the Union and Confederate lines at Gettysburg National Military Park where, on July 1-3, 1863, Meade's Union forces repulsed Lee's invasion. 

  11. The Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain Museum in Brunswick ME is home to one of the most famous Civil War soldiers and one of the heroes of the Battle of Gettysburg.

  12. Union forces at Helena, AR withstood a Confederate attack on July 4, 1863. The bloody battle resulted in more than 1,600 Southern casualties.  Combined with the fall of Confederate Vicksburg the same day, the Union defense of Helena meant Federal control of the Mississippi. Civil War exhibits at the Delta Cultural Center describe the battle.

  13. The five-acre Corydon Battlefield Park in
    Corydon, IN commemorates the site of a July 9, 1863, battle that saw about 400 members of the local home guard try to oppose Confederate John Hunt Morgan’s 2,400-man force. It was no contest. After a brief fight, most of the Indiana defenders were captured and Morgan moved on. Corydon was the only organized resistance opposing Morgan in Indiana.

  14. General James Blunt's troops including African American and Native American soldiers defeat General Daniel Cooper's 1st Brigade of Native American troops at Honey Springs, OK and seize control of Indian Territory, north of the Arkansas River.

  15. H. L. Hunley, nearly 40 feet long, was built at Mobile, Alabama, and launched in July 1863. She was then shipped by rail on August 12, 1863 to Charleston, SC. Hunley (then called Fish Boat) sank on August 29, 1863, during a training exercise, killing five members of her crew. She sank again on October 15, 1863, killing all eight of her second crew, including H. L. Hunley himself, who was aboard at the time, even though he was not enlisted in the Confederate armed forces. Both times the Hunley was raised and returned to service. On February 17, 1864, Hunley attacked and sank the 1240-short ton (1124 metric tons) screw sloop USS Housatonic on Union blockade duty in Charleston's outer harbor. Soon after, Hunley sank for unknown reasons, killing all eight of her third crew. This time, the innovative ship was lost. The public is invited to view the Hunley (weekends only, 10 am–5 pm Saturday, noon–5 pm Sunday) as it undergoes conservation. Visitors to The Warren Lasch Conservation Center see exhibits and films describing the history of the submarine and its recovery. Objects recovered from the wreck include the $20 gold piece carried by Lt. George Dixon, commander of the Hunley. A large shopping area features Hunley-related clothing and other items.

  16. The Sabine Pass Battleground was the site where the 44-man Confederates garrison at Fort Griffin forced a Union flotilla to withdraw.

  17. General Braxton Bragg and General James Longstreet defeat the Union army of the Cumberland at Chickamauga, but the stand by General George H. Thomas forces on Horseshoe Ridge and Snodgrass Hill  earns him the title of "The Rock of Chickamauga." Tour this battlefield which is part of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park.

  18. Union soldiers maul General A. P. Hill's Confederates.  The defeat angered General Lee, who ordered him to bury his dead and say no more about it.

  19. Use the National Park Service Guide to locate the sites along the Battle of Rappahannock Station where a Union attack at dusk overran the Confederate bridgehead at Rappahannock Station and captured more than 1,600 men of Early’s Division.  

  20. After General Grant received command of the Western armies, he reinforced Chattanooga and replaced General Rosecrans with General Thomas. After General William T. Sherman's troops arrived Union forces captured Orchard Knob and Lookout Mountain. On November 25, Union soldiers assaulted and carried the Confederate position on Missionary Ridge. The Federals held Chattanooga, the “Gateway to the Lower South.” Tour this battlefield which is part of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park.

  21. After a series of back and forth moves between the Rapidan and Rappahannock Rivers in September and October, 1863, the Army of Northern Virginia and the Army of the Potomac engaged in the Mine Run Campaign. follow the  Mine Run Campaign with the guide from Georgia's Blue and Gray Trail

    • Battle Summary: Mine Run, VA - November 27-December 2, 1863 B

1864 - Visit in 2014

  1. On February 20th, Seymour's 5,500 Union troops were defeated by Finegan’s 5,000 entrenched Confederates near Olustee.  Visit the scene of the battle at Olustee Battlefield State Park in Olustee, FL.

  2. Confederate cavalry, commanded by General Nathan Forrest, defeated 7,000 cavalry under the command of  William Smith at Okolona. At the Battle of Okolona State Park a series of interpretive markers describe the running battle fought to take the railroad center at Meridian.

  3. The Union 3rd Division captured the outmanned Confederate garrison. Fort DeRussy is located about 4 miles north of Marksville, LA.

  4. Mansfield was the decisive battle of the Red River Campaign, influencing the Union army to retreat back toward Alexandria. Tour the battlefield at Mansfield State Historic Site.

  5. Pleasant Hill was the last major battle of the Louisiana phase of the Red River Campaign. Although Banks won the battle, he retreated, wishing to get his army out of west Louisiana before any greater calamity occurred. Attend the reenactment of the Battle of Pleasant Hill.

  6. US Colored troops were massacred at Battle of Fort Pillow. The “Fort Pillow Massacre” became a Union rallying cry.  Learn more about this battle at the Fort Pillow State Historic Park near Henning, TN.

  7. The Wilderness was the opening battle of Grant’s sustained offensive against the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, known as the Overland Campaign. The battle was a tactical draw, but Grant did not retreat.  The costs were high on both sides with 18,400 Union and 11,400 Confederate casualties. Learn more about the battle and the Overland Campaign at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County Battlefields Memorial.

  8. After the Wilderness battle, Lee's forces stopped Grant’s left flank advance on Richmond  at Spotsylvania Court House on May 8th. The two-week battle was a series of engagements along the Spotsylvania front. The fighting was some of the most ferocious combat of the Civil War. On May 21st, Grant disengaged and continued his advance on Richmond.  Learn more about the battle and the Overland Campaign at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County Battlefields Memorial.

  9. Learn how cadets from VMI helped Breckinridge's troops defeat Sigel’s Union forces at New Market Battlefield State Historic Park.

  10. Tour the Virginia Military Institute and visit The VMI Museum in Lexington, VA.

  11. After the Union defeat at New Hope Church, Sherman ordered General O. O. Howard to attack General Joseph E. Johnston’ s right flank which Sherman thought was exposed. The Confederates repulsed the attack inflicting 1,600 Union casualties. Tour one or all of the three trails at Pickett's Mill Battlefield Historic Site

  12. Grant's Union troops suffer 13,000 casualties in an ill-advised Union attack at the Battle of Cold Harbor.  The battlefield is part of the Richmond National Battlefield.

  13. The Confederate victory at Brice's Cross Roads was a significant victory for General Nathan Bedford Forrest, but its long term effect on the war proved costly for the Confederates.  Visit Brice's Crossroads National Historic Site to learn more about this battle.

  14. The Confederate victory at Trevilian prevented Sheridan from reaching Charlottesville and cooperating with Hunter’s army in the Valley. This was one of the bloodiest cavalry battles of the war.  There is a driving tour of the battlefield and an excellent museum operated by the Trevilian Station Battlefield Foundation.

  15. The Army of the Potomac fails to press its advantage at Petersburg, VA. Beauregard gathered forces  to defend the city, and Lee rushed reinforcements. Union attacks are defeated and Grant is forced to lay siege to the city. Visit Petersburg National Battlefield to learn more about this battle.

  16. General Joseph E. Johnston withdrew his army to a position on Kennesaw Mountain. The Confederate line the Western & Atlantic Railroad which supplied Atlanta.  Sherman was sure that Johnston had stretched his line too thin and launched a frontal attack. Johnston's Confederates inflicted high casualties and forced Sherman to alter his plan of attack on Atlanta. Visit  Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park to learn more about this battle.

  17. Wallace's Union forces lose the battle but delay  Confederates at the “Battle that Saved Washington.”  Tour the Monocacy National Battlefield to learn more.

  18. The Boston African-American National Historic Site in Boston, MA highlights the collection of the largest group of pre-Civil War black owned structures in the U.S. on the north face of Beacon Hill. Buildings in this group were visited by abolitionists including Frederick Douglas and Wendell Phillips and sheltered escaped slaves. Tours begin at the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial on the Boston Common. Shaw commanded the famous Massachusetts 54th Regiment made famous in the movie “Glory.”

  19. Learn about the Battle for Atlanta at the Atlanta Cyclorama & Civil War Museum and Atlanta History Center which is home of the fabulous DuBose Civil War collection. 'Turning Point: The American Civil War' The museum has over 1,500 Union and Confederate artifacts, including cannons, uniforms, and flags, visitors experience the Civil War through the eyes of soldiers and civilians.

  20. General Early defeated General Crook's Union forces at Kernstown which caused Grant to return the VI and XIX Corps to the Shenandoah Valley and appoint Sheridan as commander. Learn more about the valley at Kernstown Battlefield Association museum.

  21. Walk around The Crater created in the Confederate defenses at Petersburg when the Federals exploded a mine beneath Elliott’s salient. 

  22. Explore historic Fort Gaines on Dauphin Island, AL which was captured by Union forces during the Battle of Mobile Bay.

  23. Take the ferry across Mobile Bay to see Fort Morgan and learn about the Battle of Mobile Bay.

  24. Walk through the Western & Atlantic Railroad Tunnel that Sherman's soldiers seized during the Atlanta Campaign.

  25. Visit Reams Station where Heth's Confederates attacked and overran Hancock's II Corps.

  26. At the Battle of Opequon or Third Winchester,  Confederate forces under Jubal Early met a Union force twice their number.  The battle lasted for several hours and produced heavy casualties.   Finally, Crook’s Corps and the cavalry turned the Confederate left flank forcing  Early to retreat.  This battlefield is one of many that was preserved by the Civil War Preservation Trust.  Tour the Third Winchester battlefield near Winchester, VA.

  27. After Early's defeat at Third Winchester, Crook’s Corps moved along North Mountain to outflank Early. The Confederates offered little resistance and their defense collapsed.  Early retreated to Rockfish Gap near Waynesboro, opening the Valley to a Union “scorched earth” invasion. Take a self-guided tour of Fisher's Hill Civil War Site.

  28. High casualties and delays caused Price's troops to fail to capture Fort Davidson and abandon their goal of capturing St. Louis.

  29. On the night of September 28-29, 1864, Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler’s Army of the James crossed James River to attack Richmond's defenses north of the river. The Union forces attacked at dawn and were successful at New Market Heights and Fort Harrison. However, the Confederate forces rallied and contained the breakthrough. Lee reinforced his lines north of the James and on September 30th, Lee launched an unsuccessful counterattack. The Federals entrenched and the Confederates built a line of works that cut off the captured forts.  Learn more about the battle by visiting the Petersburg National Battlefield.

  30. Sherman sent John M. Corse’s brigade to Allatoona just before Samuel G. French’s Confederate division arrived. Corse refused to surrender and French attacked. The Union outer line survived the initial attack, but fell back and regrouped in an earthen “Star” fort of Allatoona Pass. The Confederates began to run out of ammunition, and reports of arriving Union reinforcements influenced them to move off and rejoin Hood’s force. Tour the battlefield and learn more about The Battle of Allatoona Pass.

  31. At dawn, October 19, 1864, the Confederate Army of the Valley under Lt. Gen. Jubal A. Early surprised the Federal army at Cedar Creek and routed the VIII and XIX Army Corps. Commander  Philip Sheridan arrived from Winchester to rally his troops, and, in the afternoon, launched a crushing counterattack, which recovered the battlefield. Sheridan’s victory at Cedar Creek broke the back of the Confederate army in the Shenandoah Valley. Tour the Cedar Creek Battlefield.

  32. Winfield Scott Hancock led divisions from three Union corps (II, V, and IX) and Gregg’s cavalry division west to operate against the Boydton Plank Road and South Side Railroad. The initial Union advance on October 27th gained the Boydton Plank Road. But that afternoon, a counterattack near Burgess’ Mill spearheaded by Henry Heth’s division and Wade Hampton’s cavalry isolated the II Corps and forced a retreat. The Confederates retained control of the Boydton Plank Road for the rest of the winter. Learn about the battle at Burgess Mill.

  33.  On October 28, 1864, Price’s Confederate force stopped to rest about two miles south of Newtonia, MO.  James G. Blunt’s Union troops surprised the Confederates and began to drive them.  Joe Shelby’s division rode to the front, dismounted, and engaged the Yankees while the other Rebel troops retreated towards Indian Territory. The Union troops forced the Confederates to retreat but failed to destroy or capture them. Learn about the battles at Newtonia, MO by touring the Ritchey Mansion.

  34. Tour the Griswoldville Battlefield where Georgia militiamen, many of whom were old men and boys, charged repeatedly into heavy fire. The Battle of Griswoldville was the only infantry battle opposing General William T. Sherman's March to the Sea from Atlanta to Savannah.

  35. Spring Hill was the prelude to the Battle of Franklin. General Hood’s Army of Tennessee marched toward Spring Hill to get intercept Schofield’s Union army.  Hood’s infantry crossed the Duck River and converged on Spring Hill. However,  Schofield had reinforced the troops holding the crossroads at Spring Hill and the  Federals repulsed a Confederate infantry attack. During the night, the rest of Schofield’s command passed from Columbia through Spring Hill to Franklin.  Learn more about this battle at The Rippavilla Plantation. Rippavilla is located near Nashville just south of Historic Spring Hill on Hwy. 31.

  36. Scattered Indian raids in the Colorado Territory had caused much ill-will between the white settlers and the Native Americans. Under a vague amnesty, Chief Black Kettle with many Cheyenne and a few Arapahos, established a winter camp about 40 miles from Fort Lyon. On November 29th, Colonel John Chivington's troops  attacked the camp, killing and mutilating about 200 of the Indians, two-thirds of whom were women and children. Learn more about at Sand Creek Massacre site.

  37. More Confederates were killed in the 5-hour Battle of Franklin than in the 2-day Battle of Shiloh, the 3-day Battle of Stones River, and the Seven Days Campaign in Virginia. Fourteen Confederate generals (six killed or mortally wounded, seven wounded, and one captured) and 55 regimental commanders were casualties.

  38. As Sherman’s troops were badly in need of supplies as they approached Savannah. Sherman determined that if he could take Fort McAllister and General William B. Hazen was selected for the task. On the afternoon of December 13th, Union forces entered the fort and captured it. The capture allowed Sherman to prepare for the siege and capture of Savannah. Visit Fort McAllister State Historic Park to learn more about this battle.

1865 - Visit in 2015

  1. After a preliminary bombardment directed by Rear Adm. David D. Porter, Union forces landed and captured General Robert Hoke's garrison at Fort Fisher.  The victory closed Wilmington, the South's last open seaport on the Atlantic coast. Learn about the battle and see the earthen fort at the Fort Fisher State Historic Site.

  2. Confederate forces stop the Union advance but  Pegram is killed at the Battle of Hatcher's Run. Learn about the battle of Hatcher's Run at the Petersburg National Battlefield.

  3. On March 19, 1865, General Henry Slocum troops encountered Joseph E. Johnston's entrenched Confederates at Bentonville, NC.  The Union line withstood the Confederate offensive until nightfall. During the night, Johnston contracted his line into a “V” to protect his flanks with Mill Creek to his rear. On the 21st, General Joseph Mower's forces attacked Johnston’s rear. Confederate counterattacks stopped Mower’s advance. During the night, Johnston retreated across the bridge at Bentonville.  Sherman pursued Johnston toward Raleigh. Tour the Bentonville Battlefield.

  4.  Visit Bennett Place in Durham, NC to see where  Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston and Union General William T. Sherman signed surrender papers for Southern armies in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida in the largest troop surrender of the American Civil War.

  5.  Lee amassed  nearly half of his army in a last-gasp offensive to break through Grant’s Petersburg defenses and threaten his supply depot at City Point. General John B. Gordon's pre-dawn assault overpowered the garrisons of Fort Stedman and Batteries X, XI, and XII. However, Union crossfire and counterattacks  contained the breakthrough and captured more than 1,900 of the attackers. Learn more about the battle of Fort Stedman at Petersburg National Battlefield.

  6. On March 31st General Warren directed his corps against the Confederate entrenchments along White Oak Road, hoping to cut Lee’s communications with Pickett at Five Forks. The Union advance was stalled by a counterattack directed by Bushrod Johnson, but Warren’s position stabilized and his soldiers closed on the road by day’s end. Learn more about the battle of White Oak Road at Petersburg National Battlefield.

  7. On March 29th, the Union Cavalry Corps and the II and V Corps under General Philip Sheridan began a flank march to turn Lee’s Petersburg defenses. On March 31, Fitzhugh Lee’s cavalry and Pickett’s infantry division met the Union vanguard north and northwest of Dinwiddie Court House and drove it back, temporarily stalling Sheridan’s movement. With Union infantry approaching from the east, Pickett withdrew before daybreak to entrench at Five Forks. Lee ordered Pickett to hold this intersection at all hazard. Learn about the battles fought in Dinwiddie County and see the battle markers at Battle of Dinwiddie Court House.

  8. On April 1st, while Sheridan’s cavalry pinned the Confederate force in position, the V Corps under General G. K. Warren attacked and overwhelmed the Confederate left flank and took many prisoners. Sheridan personally directed the attack, which extended Lee’s Petersburg lines to the breaking point. Loss of Five Forks threatened Lee’s last supply line, the South Side Railroad. The next morning, Lee informed Jefferson Davis that Petersburg and Richmond must be evacuated. Visit the Five Forks battlefield to learn more about this battle.

  9. After the Confederate defeat at Five Forks on April 1st, Grant ordered a general assault against the Petersburg lines on April 2nd.  A heroic defense of Fort Gregg by a handful of Confederates prevented the Federals from entering the city that night.  After dark, Lee ordered the evacuation of Petersburg and Richmond. Grant captured Petersburg, which led to the fall of Richmond. Pamplin Historical Park is Located on the site of the battle. The Park's 422 acres include four award-winning museums, four antebellum homes, living history venues, and shopping facilities. The park is also home to the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier. The Park also has three miles of interpreted trails winding through some of America's best-preserved Civil War fortifications.

  10. General St. John R. Liddell, with about 4,000 men, held out against the much larger Union force until it was reinforced to concentrate 16,000 men for the attack on April 9th.  The numerically superior Union troops breached the Confederate earthworks and forced garrison to surrender. Visit Historic Blakeley State Park to view the remains of earthen work fort.

  11. On April 6th at Sayler’s Creek, nearly one fourth of the retreating Confederate army was cut off by Sheridan’s Cavalry and elements of the II and VI Corps. Most surrendered, including Confederate generals Ewell, Barton, Simms, Kershaw, Custis Lee, Dubose, Hunton, and Corse. Visit Sailor's Creek State Park to learn more about this battle that prompted Lee to ask, “My God, has the army dissolved?”

  12. On April 6th, the Confederate cavalry tried to secure the Appomattox River bridges.  On April 7th, elements of the Union II Corps came up against Longstreet’s rear guard attempting to fire the High Bridge and wagon bridge. Union forces were able to save the wagon bridge over which the II Corps crossed in pursuit of Lee’s army. Capture of this bridge enabled Union forces to catch up with the Confederates at Farmville.  Learn more about this battle at the High Bridge Battlefield Museum. 

  13. Walk the grounds of Appomattox Court House Historical Park where Lee surrendered to Grant.

  14. Visit Fort Tyler where on April 16, 1865, Union Troops attacked the earthen works in West Point, GA. Many soldiers lost their lives that day, unaware that Lee had surrendered to Grant 7 days prior. 

  15. Visit Ford's Theater and the Petersen Boarding House in Washington, DC and learn about the Lincoln assassination.  

  16. Take a driving tour of the John Wilkes Booth:
    Escape of an Assassin & War on Chesapeake Bay
    Follow his escape path from Washington to escape sites in Maryland and Virginia.

  17. Camp Sumter, commonly called Andersonville, was one of the largest military prisons established by the Confederacy during the Civil War. In existence for 14 months, over 45,000 Union soldiers were confined at the prison. Of these, almost 13,000 died from disease, poor sanitation, malnutrition, overcrowding, and exposure to the elements. Visit Andersonville National Historic Site.

    • Also visit the National Prisoner of War Museum and Andersonville National Cemetery.

  18. Fort Delaware on Pea Patch Island in the Delaware River is a ½-mile ferry ride from the visitor center on the Delaware City waterfront to the fort.    At the outbreak of the Civil War, the fort was armed with heavy guns and an artillery garrison was put on a wartime footing.  The first Confederate prisoners arrived in July 1861. Three years later the prison population topped 10,000 men confined in a series of wooden barracks under the guns of the fort. The prison also confined various political prisoners and Union deserters. Inadequate rations and clothing, heat and unsanitary conditions combined to cause the death of more than 2,400 prisoners of the estimated 30,000 housed at Fort Delaware during the war.    A visitor center at the fort features artifacts, a short film and a 3-D map. Officer quarters, casemates and other areas of the fort have been furnished and restored to their Civil War appearance.

  19. General Grant's Tomb or General Grant National Memorial overlooks the Hudson River from the Morningside Heights section of Manhattan. The memorial is the largest tomb in North America. Grant's Tomb is also a memorial to his life and accomplishments. 

  20. The National Museum of Civil War Medicine is the premier center for the preservation and research of the legacy of Civil War medical innovation. The National Museum of Civil War Medicine includes three sites, the main museum in Frederick, MD, the Pry House Field Hospital Museum at Antietam National Battlefield, Sharpsburg, MD, and soon to open, Clara Barton's Missing Soldiers Office, at 437 7th Street, Washington DC.

  21. The Old Court House Civil War Museum is a historic building with graffiti from both Northern and Southern soldiers which also houses a nationally recognized collection of over 3,000 Civil War artifacts.  Situated on the Loudoun Street Walking Mall in Old Town Winchester, VA, this Georgian style court house was used as a hospital, barracks and prison by both sides during the War. 

  22. The Civil War and Underground Railroad Museum of Philadelphia, which will be reopening in 2011, boasts the largest single assemblage of Civil War related material outside government institutions.

  23.  Visit The Casemate Museum in Fort Monroe, VA to see where Confederate ex-President Jefferson Davis was imprisoned after the war.

  24.  The Confederate Reunion Grounds State Historic Site on the edge of the Navasota River, commemorates a place where Confederate Civil War veterans and families reunited from 1889–1946.

  25. Although Beauvoir, the Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library in Biloxi, MS is undergoing repairs it is a site worth visiting to learn more about the Confederacy's President.

  26. The Arlington House (The Robert E. Lee Memorial) was the home of Robert E. Lee and his family for 30 years and is uniquely associated with the Washington and Custis families. George Washington Parke Custis built the house to be his home and a memorial to George Washington, his step-grandfather. It is now preserved as a memorial to General Lee, who gained the respect of Americans in both the North and the South.

  27.  Visit the Lee Chapel and Museum at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA. Lee died on October 12, 1870, and was buried beneath the Chapel. In 1883 an addition was made to the building which houses the memorial sculpture of the recumbent Lee by Edward Valentine and includes a family crypt in the lower level where the general's remains were moved. His wife, mother, father ("Light-Horse Harry" Lee), all of his children and other relatives are now buried in the crypt as well. The remains of his beloved horse, Traveller, are interred in a plot outside the museum entrance.

  28. The Drum Barracks Civil War Museum in Los Angeles, CA is housed in the last remaining wooden building of Drum Barracks, named after Adjutant General Richard Coulter Drum, head of the Department of the Pacific. This facility served as the Union Army headquarters in the Southwest (Southern California and the Arizona Territory) from 1861 - 1871.

  29. Nestled amid row homes on a small street in Northeast Philadelphia, the Grand Army of the Republic Civil War Museum and Library has often been referred to in newspaper articles as “one of the hidden treasures of Philadelphia.” The museum, which occupies a three story brick building built by Dr. John Ruan in 1796, is home to a unique and historic collection of Civil War and Grand Army of the Republic artifacts, books, and memorabilia.

  30. The CSS Neuse was one of 22 ironclads commissioned by the Confederate navy. Having a wide, flat bottom, the vessel resembled a river barge. When completed, the twin-screw steamer was plated with iron armor and measured 158 feet long and 34 feet wide. Delays in construction, low water, and lack of ground support prevented the gunboat from entering combat below Kinston. When Union troops occupied Kinston in March 1865, the Neuse was burned by its crew, resulting in a large explosion in her port bow, which sank the vessel.  The existing hull remnant is on display at the C.S.S. Neuse State Historical Site in Kinston, NC.

  31. Both the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room & Military Museum and South Carolina State Museum in Columbia offer Civil War material. The Relic Room exhibits are modern and excellent with emphasis on local and state Civil War history. Great flag collection and well-selected artifacts. State Museum highlights include a scale model of the H.L. Hunley submarine and one of the few copies of the original Ordnance of Secession. Also on display are artifacts from the famous 1856 Brooks/Sumner caning episode on the US Senate floor that inflamed sectional feelings on both sides.

  32. The Civil War Museum of the Western Theater is the fourth-largest Civil War Museum in the United States. In 1999 we added the only museum dedicated to the women of the Civil War, featuring exhibits of period clothing, paintings, and personal artifacts. It is located in the Historic Wright Talbott House, adjacent to the Civil War Museum. Unlike the other museums, this one focuses mainly on the War of the Western States. The story of the western theater is told plainly in geographical and chronological segments. Visitors move through a series of exhibits featuring myriad artifacts from both the Union and the Confederacy. Examples of some of the artifacts the museum showcases include the flag of the 2nd Kentucky Cavalry, the presentation sword of Confederate Brigadier General Lloyd Tilghman, and a silver flask presented to Confederate General John C. Breckinridge a few days after he joined the Confederate Army.

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Revised 02/15/2013