Civil War battlefields are among the most popular tourist destinations in America. The location of fierce and devastating conflict, today the battlefields of the Civil War are places of reflection and education, where both locals and visitors alike can gather to consider a struggle which tore apart a nation and yet helped forge modern America.
For those seeking to explore the sites where this costly war was played out, this list of major Civil War battlefields can provide a good way to start your journey. This article covers a selection of major set-piece battles of the American Civil War, and includes some of the most interesting Civil War battlefields to visit today. It isn’t intended to be an exhaustive list and wouldn’t claim to be, but hopefully for those seeking to visit important Civil War battlefields it will give you a good list from which to start exploring.
You can also view a more general list of Civil War sites - covering important memorials, fortifications, cemeteries and museums.
Scene of the single bloodiest day of fighting in American history, Antietam Battlefield was the culmination of the Maryland campaign and ended General Lee's invasion of Maryland.
Antietam Battlefield was where, on 17 September 1862, General Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia met Major General George B. McClellan and the Army of the Potomac in what became the most brutal battle of the American Civil War. In fact, the Battle of Antietam remains the... Read More
The Battle of Averasborough, which took place on the 16th of March 1865, was part of the Carolinas Campaign during the American Civil War.
Averasboro Battlefield was the site of The Battle of Averasborough, part of the Carolinas Campaign during the American Civil War. The Battle of Averasborough took place on 15 and 16 March 1865. Part of the Carolinas Campaign of the American Civil War, the Battle of Averasborough was fought between the Unionist... Read More
Brice’s Crossroads Battlefield was the site of a Confederate victory on 10th of June 1864. Despite being outnumbered, the Confederates were victorious, though this victory brought few real gains.
On 10 June 1864, Brice's Crossroads Battlefield in Mississippi was the site of a clash between 4,787 Confederate troops led by Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest and 8,100 Union soldiers commanded by Brigadier General Samuel D. Sturgis. By this time, the Union had won several important battles such as in Gettysburg... Read More
Chancellorsville Battlefield was the site of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s “greatest victory” in 1863 during the American Civil War, though the huge numbers of casualties leant it something of a Pyrric nature.
Chancellorsville Battlefield in Virginia was the site of a major Confederate victory during the American Civil War and part of the wider Chancellorsville Campaign, an attempt by the Unionists to capture the Confederate capital of Richmond. Fought between 30 April and 6 May 1863, the Battle of Chancellorsville saw the Confederate... Read More
Site of the a major Confederate victory in the American Civil War, the battlefield of Chickamauga is now a 5,500 acre historic park with various monuments and information centres dedicated to the battle.
Chickamauga Battlefield forms part of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park and is a major landmark in US history. In the fall of 1863, General William S. Rosecrans' Union army fought General Braxton Bragg's Confederates for control of Chattanooga, a key rail centre and what was considered the gateway to... Read More
Cold Harbor was the site of one of General Robert E. Lee’s final victories in the American Civil War. Fought between 31 May and 12 June 1864, the Union army suffered over 12,000 casualties. The battlefield now forms part of Richmond National Battlefield Park.
The Battle of Cold Harbor was part of the overland campaign of 1864 during the American Civil War. It was here in Cold Harbor that, between 31 May and 12 June 1864, the Army of the Potomac led by Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant battled General Robert E. Lee and the... Read More
Fort Donelson Battlefield was the scene of a fierce and pivotal battle and major Union victory, fought from 11 to 16 February 1862.
Fort Donelson Battlefield was the site of a fierce and pivotal battle fought from 11 to 16 February 1862 as part of the American Civil War. The two parties involved were the Unionists commanded by the then Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant and the Confederates, led by Brigadier General John... Read More
Located near the heart of the Confederate capital in Richmond, Fredericksburg Battlefield is an important site of the American Civil War, where the Confederates defeated the Unionists in a fierce battle in December 1862.
Fredericksburg Battlefield in Virginia was the site of the Battle of Fredericksburg, a major clash between the Unionists led by General Ambrose E. Burnside and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia led by General Robert E. Lee during the American Civil War. It took place between 11 and 15 December... Read More
Probably the most famous of all Civil War battlefields, Gettysburg saw one of the fiercest and most important battles in the American Civil War, resulting in over 51,000 casualties. It was later the setting for Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address.
Gettysburg National Military Park in the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania is brimming with approximately 1,328 monuments, markers and memorials relating to the American Civil War. In fact, Gettysburg was just a small town until the summer of 1863, when it became the scene of one of the bloodiest battles in the... Read More
Scene of a pivotal battle in the Chattanooga campaign in the American Civil War, Lookout Mountain Battlefield today forms part of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park.
Lookout Mountain Battlefield is the site where General Ulysses S. Grant led the Union Army to victory over the Confederate forces of General Braxton Bragg in what some know as the “Battle in the Clouds”. This battle formed part of the campaign to control nearby Chattanooga, considered to be the... Read More
Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park was the site of an US Civil War battle on 20 February 1864 won by the Confederates. Today the battlefield contains memorials and an Interpretive Centre with exhibits and information relating to the battle.
On 20 February 1864 at Olustee Battlefield, Union and Confederate troops clashed for five hours in what became Florida’s largest battle during the American Civil War. Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park now stands in commemoration of that historic battle and its 2,807 casualties. It was the Confederates led by Brigadier General... Read More
Among the most important battlefields of the Civil War, Richmond National Battlefield Park in Virginia was a focal point of the war and includes several historic battlefields where a number of fierce clashes took place.
Richmond National Battlefield Park in Virginia is a collection of several historic battlefields, representing some of the fiercest fighting in the American Civil War, including the Seven Days’ Battles. Richmond was the capital of the Confederacy, meaning that, between 1861 and 1865 Richmond and its surroundings were at the centre of... Read More
Shiloh Battlefield was the site of the Battle of Pittsburgh Landing which took place in April 1862 and saw almost 24,000 casualties.
Shiloh Battlefield in Shiloh National Military Park in Tennessee and Mississippi was the site of a Union victory in April 1862 during the American Civil War. Known as the Battle of Shiloh and also as the Battle of Pittsburgh Landing, this clash saw the Confederates, led by General Albert Sidney Johnston... Read More
Stones River Battlefield was the site of a fierce clash during the American Civil War which proved vital for the Union.
Between 31 December 1862 and 2 January 1863, Stones River Battlefield in Murfreesboro was the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the American Civil War. Prior to the Battle of Stones River, the Union had suffered a humiliating defeat at Fredericksburg. Morale was at an all time low... Read More
Vicksburg Battlefield in Mississippi was the site of a pivotal Union victory during the US Civil War.
Vicksburg Battlefield was the site of one of the most important Union victories of the American Civil War and, together with the Battle of Gettysburg, marked a pivotal moment during the conflict. With its strategically vital location near the Mississippi River, wealth of resources, access to Richmond and ability to split... Read More
Wilson’s Creek Battlefield was the site of the second major battle of the Civil War and is now a US National Park, including a Civil War Museum.
Wilson’s Creek Battlefield was the site of the second major battle of the American Civil War. The Battle of Wilson’s Creek, also known as the Battle of Oak Hills, took place in Springfield, Missouri on 10 August 1861 and was the first such conflict to take place west of the... Read More