SUMMER 2017: By Paula Neely.

By 1860, after decades of discord between northern and southern states over economic policies, state’s rights, and the role of slavery, the United States had become a divided nation. Southern states, which relied heavily on slave labor, wanted to expand slavery to new states joining the Union, but northern states opposed this.

Soon after the election of President Abraham Lincoln, who pledged not to expand slavery, Southern states began seceding from the Union. The Union refused to recognize their secession, and the South fired the first shots of the Civil War at Fort Sumter, South Carolina, in April, 1861. The war took a tremendous toll. According to the National Park Service, Union forces suffered 642,427 casualties (killed, wounded, and missing), and the Confederates 483,026.

A considerable amount of the fighting took place on the battlefields featured on this tour, most of which are managed by the National Park Service (NPS). Many of the parks encompass a number of battlefields that are located throughout a large geographic area. This tour highlights some of the major battles and historic structures at each destination. (There are battlefields and other Civil War sites in this region that are not part of this tour.)

If you go:

1. Petersburg National Battlefield
2. Richmond National Battlefield Park
3. Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park
4. Manassas National Battlefield Park
5. Monocacy National Battlefield
6. Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
7. Antietam National Battlefield
8. Gettysburg National Military Park
9. Virginia Museum of the Civil War and New Market Battlefield State Historical Park
10. Appomattox Court House National Historical Park


Read More in our SUMMER 2017 Issue of American Archaeology, Vol. 20 No. 4. Browse Content of this Issue: SUMMER 2017 . Browse Articles Excerpts from our last issue, SPRING 2017.

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