Travel Guides Crafted by Experienced Archaeologists & Historians

American Civil War Battlefields, Landmarks & Museums

The American Civil War was a conflict that took place in the United States from 1861 to 1865. It was fought between the Union, made up of Northern states, and the Confederacy, made up of Southern states. The main cause of the war was the issue of slavery, whether or not it should be allowed to continue. There were also other significant reasons based on fundamental differences between the North and the South. Civil War sites can be found across large parts of the US, and include battlefields and historic homes, as well as many museums dedicated to presenting the conflict between Blue and Grey.

Civil War Battlefields & Landmarks in the US

Fort Delaware

Located within the Fort Delaware State Park, this pentagonal military installation was primarily built between 1848 and 1860. During this period, which witnessed the American Civil War, it was used as a prison for captured Confederate Army soldiers. The U.S. military continued to use it the end of the Second World War, when they transferred ownership to the state. Today, visitors are welcomed by reenactors dressed in Civil War costume.

Fort Scott National Historic Site

Standing in the eponymous city, the military installation at Fort Scott opened in 1842. It served as a base for the U.S. Army which could help defend the growing number of American settlers pushing westward. After a period in the 1850s during which it was sold off for civilian use, the army reoccupied the fort during the American Civil War. The fort underwent restoration during the 1960s and now operates as a heritage attraction.

Fort Sumter National Monument

Construction of Fort Sumter began in 1829 and in the 1860s it played an important role in the Civil War. In 1861 Confederate forces attacked the fort, eventually securing the surrender of the Union forces stationed there. Union counter-attacks followed in 1863, with the fort being left heavily damaged at the end of the war. In the 1940s it became a National Monument and has become a popular tourist attraction. The historic fort is only accessible by ferry rides from Liberty Square and Patriots Point in Charleston.

Civil War Museums in the US

African American Museum of Iowa

The African American Museum of Iowa in Cedar Rapids showcases the heritage of black Americans living in the Hawkeye State. The museum was established in 1994 and opened at its purpose-built premises in 2003, although was heavily damaged in a 2008 flood. Topics covered include the period of enslavement, the Underground Railroad, the Civil War, and the Civil Rights Movement. Various special events and temporary exhibits take place throughout the year.

Civil War Museum, Bardstown

The Civil war museum in Bardstown was established in 1996, bringing together four separate attractions. The Civil War Museum of the Western Theater and the Women’s Civil War Museum are the largest and most complete museums in America to cover the western theatre of the war. Adjacent to the museums is the Old Bardstown Village – an open-air collection of ten original log structures from the 18th and 19th century. Also in the group is the General Hal Moore Military Museum, which tells the life of a local war hero who fought in both Vietnam and Korea.

Frazier History Museum, Louisville

Founded in 2004 as the Frazier Historical Arms Museum, the museum has expanded considerably since and now has a range of permanent exhibits about local, national and international history.  Topics of some of the permanent exhibitions include one of the largest displays of toy soldiers in the world, historic arms, bourbon whiskey, and the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The museum is housed in a historic 19th century commercial building that was known as the Doerhoefer Building. Today the museum is the official starting point for the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

Louisiana History Museum

The Louisiana History Museum in Alexandria explores the history of the Bayou State, with a particular focus on its central region. It occupies a building dating from 1907 which initially served as the Alexandria Public Library. The museum was established in 1971 and brings together collections covering a broad range of themes, including the Native peoples of Louisiana, the periods of Spanish, French and British rule, as well as the Civil War.