Civil War Sesquicentennial Resources
Events, organizations and sites in Maryland
During the Civil War Sesquicentennial in Maryland there are many resources, sites, and events that provide rich material for you to learn about this important period in our history. Below are selected resources to get you started and to lead to you other information and programs.
Media and Archives
150 Years Ago This Week in the Civil War: Historical scans from the Periodicals Department of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, these articles capture the political and daily life struggles that Marylanders faced as their cities, towns, and fields became battlefields in the difficult conflict that divided the Nation.
The American Civil War Homepage: The National Park Service’s homepage contains a timeline, information about events and exhibits, an interactive map, and a list of sesquicentennial events by state.
Civil War 150: The Washington Post “commemorates the Civil War's 150th anniversary with commentary from experts, sesquicentennial news and an updating event calendar.”
“Disunion” Series, New York Times Online: “Disunion revisits and reconsiders America's most perilous period -- using contemporary accounts, diaries, images and historical assessments to follow the Civil War as it unfolded.” Includes contributions by MHC Board member Adam Goodheart.
The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History: Features over 100 free podcasts (upon registration), including Eric Foner comments on his new book, The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery, Professor David Brion Davis on the nineteenth-century abolition movement, and Professor Ira Berlin discusses the context of Lincoln's statements about race.
National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections: NUCMC is the Library of Congress’ “five year, five part effort to highlight program cataloging of the last quarter century, along with related visual content, in observance of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War.”
The Civil War at 150: Echoes from the Blue & Gray: This 24-page PDF compiled by the Newspaper in Education Institute, the History Channel and the Civil War Trust offers information about major figures and battles as well as corresponding activities for students.
Vermont Civil War Book of Days: A weekly e-newsletter produced by the Vermont Humanities Council, detailing what was going on that week 150 years ago.
150 Legacy Project: A program of the Library of Virginia, the project is a “multi-year initiative to locate, digitize and provide world-wide access to the private documentary heritage of the American Civil War era located throughout Virginia”
Life in a War Zone: Montgomery County during the Civil War: The Heritage Tourism Alliance of Montgomery County produced a 60-minute documentary film on the history of the Civil War in Montgomery County that features historic and contemporary images of local heritage sites, video of Civil War re-enactors, and panoramas of unchanged rural landscapes.
Maryland in the Civil War: This 2011 e-book by William S. Shepard contains four essays, including an account of the efforts of Governor Thomas Holliday Hicks from Dorchester County to keep Maryland in the Union.
The list below contains a handful of the many historic Civil War sites in Maryland and the surrounding areas. Check with your local tourism office and/or history museum to make sure you don’t miss any sites.
Antietam National Battlefield: On this site General Robert E. Lee’s first invasion of the North ended in September 1862. More than 23,000 men were killed, wounded or listed as missing following the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest day in the Civil War.
B&O Railroad Station Museum, Ellicott City: The museum is the oldest surviving railroad station in America and was the original terminus of the first 13 miles of commercial railroad in the country.
Civil War Discovery Trail, Sponsored by the Civil War Preservation Trust, this site includes a collection of over 600 historic sites in 31 states—including 26 in Maryland.
Clara Barton House National Historic Site, Glen Echo: Barton, the “angel of the battlefield,” made her final home in this grand structure situation in Glen Echo Park. The house also served as the first permanent headquarters of the American Red Cross, which Barton founded in 1881.
Fort Washington Park, Fort Washington: The museum interprets military life in a fort and the history of Maryland during the War of 1812 and the Civil War.
Journey Through Hallowed Ground: The 180-mile route from Gettysburg, PA to Monticello, VA includes national parks, historic sites, Main Street communities, restaurants and inns.
Monocacy National Battlefield, Frederick: On July 9, 1864, Union forces delayed Jubal Early’s advance on Washington, DC at this battlefield situation in Frederick County.
Mount Clare Museum House, Baltimore: A Georgian mansion built in 1760, the museum educates the public about all aspects of life on an 18th century plantation including the lives of enslaved Africans and indentured servants.
National Museum of Civil War Medicine, Frederick: The museum explores the personal stories and devotion and courage among military and civilian heroes and examines the war’s importance in the history of medicine.
Point Lookout State Park, Scotland: Located on the southern tip of St. Mary’s County, at the junction of the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay, Point Lookout was the site of a Civil War prison which housed some 52,000 Confederate soldiers.
Dr. Samuel A. Mudd House, La Plata: “St. Catherine on the Zechia” was the home and plantation of Dr. Samuel A. Mudd, who set the leg of John Wilkes Boothe, assassin of President Abraham Lincoln.
South Mountain Battlefield, Burkittsville: Confederate and Union soldiers clashed at three separate gaps along a seven-mile ridge at South Mountain on September 14, 1862, making it the first major Civil War battle in Maryland and setting the stage for the Battle of Antietam three days later.
Surratt House Museum, Clinton: Built in 1852, the Surratt House was a safe house in the Confederate underground system which flourished in Southern Maryland. Mary Surratt was one of four people found guilty and hanged for conspiring to assassinate Abraham Lincoln.
Union Mills Homestead, Westminster: The 1797 Shriver family estate was used as a stopover for Civil War soldiers, including J.E.B. Stuart’s Confederate cavalry and Sykes’ Fifth Corps of the Army of the Potomac.
USS Constellation, Baltimore: The last all-sail powered warship built by the US Navy, the Constellation is the only surviving naval vessel of the Civil War still afloat.
Washington County Civil War Sites: Information regarding Civil War sites in Hagerstown and Washington County.
Each of the organizations—regional, state-wide and even national—below offer events, resources, and opportunities related to the Civil War Sesquicentennial. Check their websites for more detailed information.
Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County: Read about Montgomery County’s role in the Civil War as well as area events and historic sites.
Baltimore in the Civil War: The tourism organization Visit Baltimore offers a brief history of the city’s role in the Civil War (including photos) and describes Civil War sites around town.
Baltimore Civil War Roundtable: The BCWRT meets monthly to discuss the study of the Civil War, host guest speakers, plan trips to historic sites, and support preservation of battlefields. They also publish a monthly newsletter and take part in Civil War ceremonies in the area.
Baltimore National Heritage Area: The Baltimore National Heritage Area is a region of Baltimore with a uniquely rich concentration of historical, cultural, and natural resources of national significance. This organization promotes cultural heritage tourism in Baltimore, some of which is tied to the Civil War sesquicentennial.
"The Civil War in Your Attic": Members of the Maryland History and Culture Collaborative, working with Maryland Digital Cultural Heritage and representatives from many local institutions, have partnered to create a statewide online collection of original Civil War manuscripts that remain in private hands. “The Civil War in Your Attic: Preserving the Legacy of Maryland and the Civil War” is a multi-year initiative to locate, digitize and provide worldwide access to the private documentary heritage of the American Civil War era located in Maryland.
Civil War Trust: Read about upcoming events and advocacy efforts from this nation-wide nonprofit heritage organization--and don't miss their interactive media features such as battlefield apps and animated maps.
Friends of Anna Ella Carroll: This group celebrates the legacy of Anna Ella Carroll, a 19th century Eastern Shore woman who was politically, intellectually and socially active in the Civil War.
Greater Baltimore History Alliance: A consortium of nearly 50 museums and sites in the Baltimore metropolitan area, this website shares information about member institutions’ upcoming events, exhibits and programs related to the Civil War.
Heart of the Civil War: A Civil War heritage area in Carroll, Frederick, and Washington Counties, this website provides information about historic sites in these counties and links to other resources.
Maryland Historical Society: The state historical society hosts a special exhibit on the Civil War in Maryland beginning in spring 2011—in addition to resources such as their library, archives, and events related to their Civil War exhibit.
Maryland Office of Tourism: Four carefully mapped driving tours link together a collection of both well-known and less-known sites from Baltimore City, throughout the Chesapeake Region, Southern Maryland and into Western Maryland.
National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom: Sites, programs and partnerships related to the Underground Railroad, which ran through Maryland.
Virginia Sesquicentennial Commemoration of the American Civil War: An interactive website offering information about events and programs held throughout our neighboring state of Virginia to honor the Civil War.