New York, Vermont, Rhode Island
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain Museum
226 Maine St, Brunswick ME 04011
Home to one of the most famous Civil War soldiers and one of the heroes of the Battle of Gettysburg. His fame spread following the publication of “The Killer Angels” and the movie “Gettysburg.” Guided tours (last one at 3 pm) explore Chamberlain’s eventful life. Open Tuesday–Saturday 10 am–4 pm (June-October). $7.50/adult.
Boston African-American National Historic Site
14 Beacon St., Suite 503, Boston MA 02108
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 Douglass and Wendell Phillips and sheltered escaped slaves. Free ranger-guided tours of the area are offered at 10 am, noon and 2 pm Monday–Saturday Memorial Day–Labor Day; 10 am and 2 pm other times.
The 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.”
Fort Warren, on George’s Island, Boston Harbor
This fort, built in 1838, served as a prison for Confederate political and military figures during and shortly after the war. Among notables kept here were Alexander Stephens, Confederate vice-president, and Gens. Richard Ewell, Isaac Trimble and Simon Bolivar Buckner. James Mason and John Slidell of the famous “Trent Affair” were imprisoned here Nov. 24, 1861-Jan 1, 1862. Civil War interpretation and a monument to Confederate prisoners here.
Accessible by public ferry May–October. See www.bostonislands.com for prices and schedules.
4 Faneuil Hall Market Place, Boston MA 02109
Constructed in 1742 as a market and meeting place, this building became one of the most famous in American history. Meetings and debates here in the mid-1700s gave rise to Colonial opposition to British taxation that spread throughout the colonies. Prior to and during the Civil War, the building hosted William Lloyd Garrison, Charles Sumner, Frederick Douglass and others speaking against slavery. Their story is told on site by rangers.
The second floor of the building is staffed by the National Park Service.
Open 9 am–5 pm. Free.
African American Heritage Trail
54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment Trail
A self guided driving tour in communities from Dalton MA to Sharon CT telling the story of the men who served in the 54th Massachusetts, the “Glory” regiment. Tour takes visitors to places where they lived, are remembered and are buried. See www.africanamericantrail.org for a free downloadable tour guide.
Clara Barton Birthplace Museum
68 Clara Barton Road, North Oxford MA 01537
508-987-2056 extension 213
Clara Barton was born here on Christmas Day 1821. She became famous for her battlefield work during the Civil War and later founded the American National Red Cross. Open Friday–Sunday 10 am–4 pm (June–August).
New York City
General Grant National Monument (Grant’s Tomb)
West 122nd Street and Riverside Drive, New York NY 10003
The famous general and later U.S. President is buried here on the banks of the Hudson River. Scenes from his Civil War career are portrayed at the tomb. Completed in 1897, this is the largest mausoleum in North America. Open 9 am–5 pm daily. Free. Talks and special tours throughout the day.
500 25th St., Brooklyn NY 11232
Founded in 1838, Green-Wood is the final resting place for Union Gens. Henry Halleck, Henry Slocum, Abram Duryee and Fitz-John Porter and at least 3,000 other Civil War veterans. Self-guided tour guides and booklets available. Call for guided tour schedule. Main gate open 8 am–5 pm daily.
U.S. Military Academy at West Point
West Point/Highland Falls exit from Route 9W (see website for specific directions)
845-938-2638 (visitor center), www.usma.edu
The best-known military school in the world graduated officers and other leaders that served on both sides during the Civil War including most of the top commanders. The museum here highlights the history of the site and important items relating to USMA graduates. The West Point Cemetery is the burial place of such Civil War notables as George Armstrong Custer, John Buford and Dan Butterfield. The museum and visitor center are open to the public daily 9 am–4:45 pm, but entry to the grounds is by guided tour only (West Point Tours Inc, 845-446-4724).
Elmira Prison Camp site
Markers located at Winsor Avenue and Hoffman Street and nearby at 641 and 811 W Water St.
Several historical markers note the boundaries and stories of the infamous Civil War prison camp opened here in July 1864. A stockade fence enclosed the 30-acre compound. Overcrowding and a brutal winter caused an unusually high death rate. Nearly 3,000 of the more than 12,000 prisoners died here. Most of the Confederate dead are buried in Woodlawn National Cemetery (1825 Davis St). Memorials and markers are there.
John Brown Farm State Historic Site
115 John Brown Road, Lake Placid NY 12946
John Brown, who led the famous raid on Harpers Ferry (then Virginia) in 1859, owned this farm and hoped to develop the area as a haven for poor blacks and escaped slaves. He spent little time here, however, as he was preoccupied with events in Kansas and elsewhere. His body was brought here after his execution following the abortive raid. The graves of 12 of his followers eventually were relocated here. Open May–October 10 am–5 pm (closed Tuesday). Grounds open all year. $2/adult.
New York State Military Museum
61 Lake Ave, Saratoga Springs NY 12866
Civil War artifacts, uniforms, flags and art make up a significant part of this museum’s collection. Highlights include the uniform of Col. Elmer Ellsworth (shot early in the war in Alexandria, Va.) and the medical kit of Confederate Gen. Jubal Early’s surgeon. The museum holds the largest collection of Civil War flags in the world, many of which are on exhibit. Open Tuesday–Saturday 10 am–4 pm, Sunday noon–4 pm. Free.
Ulysses S. Grant Cottage
28 Mount McGregor Road, Gansevoort NY 12831
Grant spent the last month of his life here, completing his famous memoirs before dying of throat cancer July 23, 1885. This state historic site retains many of the original furnishings, including the bed where he died. Open Memorial Day weekend–Labor Day, Wednesday–Sunday 10 am–4 pm. Weekends only Labor Day–Columbus Day. $5/adult. 518-584-4353.
Saint Albans Historical Museum
Church and Bishop streets, Saint Albans VT 05478
Exhibits in this former school building (completed in 1861) feature the Oct. 19, 1864, Confederate raid on this small town. The raiders robbed three banks, getting away with more than $200,000. The building also served as a community enlistment and soldier support center during the war. Open Tuesday–Friday 1–4 pm, Saturday 10 am–2 pm (mid-May through mid-October), and by appointment. $5/adult.
Rhode Island State House
82 Smith St, Providence RI 02903
Two famous Civil War cannon, both served by Rhode Island crews, are on exhibit in the lobby to the north entrance of the State House. “The Gettysburg Gun” is an exceptional artifact with a great story. It was there at Pickett’s Charge July 3, 1863. A Confederate shell hit the muzzle, bending it and killing two officers. Despite the damage, the Rhode Island men tried to load the gun, but the ball stuck in the muzzle and was welded there by the heat. That damaged cannon is on exhibit with the ball still in place and with 33 bullet marks. Another Rhode Island gun used at First Manassas (Bull Run) also is displayed in the hall with regimental flags. Self-guided tours (brochures available) Monday–Friday 8:30 am–4:30 pm.
Links to the websites of these places: Links