Prelude to a series
My high school history teacher was notoriously passionate about the Civil War. He’d stand at the front of the room amidst a cloud of chalk dust, the blackboard behind him covered with names like “McClellan” and “Gettysburg” scrawled in his excitable chalk-script. He was the first true Civil War buff I’d ever known.
Earlier today, two days into the Federal government shut-down, his daughter—an old friend of mine—posted an alarming note on her Facebook page: “Not one Civil War battlefield is open in the entire country ’til a budget gets passed. They are trying to kill my father.”
Well, I could hardly allow my favorite history teacher to meet the premature sound of “Taps.” After all, there are plenty of places he—and YOU—can still go to get a Civil War fix even though the government shutdown has closed all National Park Service facilities (although one semi-reliable NPS source tells me they’re still trying to get the giant tarp pulled over the Grand Canyon.)
Sure, the NPS oversees most of the big battlefields, but as any hardcore battlefielder knows, there’s plenty more out there than that: state and county parks, Civil War Trust properties, sites run by private foundations and nonprofit groups, roadside markers, and more.
So, I’ve asked my colleagues here at ECW to come up with a list of their favorite non-NPS Civil War sites. In the spirit of civic duty, ECW will feature one such site each weekday of the government shutdown. Hopefully you’ll see something here that’ll pique your interest, perhaps surprise you, and certainly stave off any battlefield withdrawal symptoms you might otherwise experience.