American Civil War in the News is a edited review of American Civil War related news and articles, providing collection of hand-picked 1861-1865 era history.

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Battlefields Today - American Civil War

Latest hand-picked Civil War news and articles.

Civil War battlegrounds in danger: Casino in Gettysburg, Walmart in Wilderness battlefield
A casino could soon be located near the Gettysburg battlefield. A Walmart may shadow the Wilderness battlefield in Virginia, where U. S. Grant kept his headquarters when he first fought Robert E. Lee. At the same time that battlefield sites gear up for a flood of visitors - because of the Civil War's 150th anniversary - they are shrinking away, acre by acre.

Historians hunt for Civil War-era passage that could have run from Fort Totten to Bronx
The visitors have heard the legend about an escape passage built between Fort Totten in Queens, to Fort Schuyler in the Bronx, where the Long Island Sound and the East River meet. Historians and park rangers say it's a myth: The technology to build a tunnel under 100 feet of water didn't exist at the time. But myth has been stirred up by clues like dead-ending corridors and walled-up chambers in both forts. David Allen enjoys exploring the Throgs Neck fort's complex maze of underground tunnels, and recently he discovered a passage that seems to go under the bay headed for Fort Totten. The tale motivated the History Channel to run a segment on it.

Impact of Geology on the American Civil War
The link between geology and the history of the Civil War has always fascinated Robert Whisonant, and now he has teamed up with geomorphologist Judy Ehlen to take military history a step deeper - into the geology under the soldiers' feet. They analysed the geomorphology of several battlefields and compared the terrain to casualties for each day. The question: is there a correlation between casualties and the geology of the battlefield. "Gettysburg is a good example. The Union had the high ground, but one disadvantage was the hard rock that forms that high ground is so close to the surface that the soldiers couldn't dig trenches."

Virginia: Fields of the Civil War - Petersburg National Battlefield
Railroads of Petersburg helped decide the end of the American Civil War. Between June 1864 and April 1865, Union forces led by Ulysses S. Grant encircled Confederate forces led by Robert E. Lee in Petersburg for over 9 months. During the siege, 5 rail lines gave Lee's army and residents a lifeline. Grant's troops cut off each of the links as the siege continued, until just one remained: the east-west South Side Railroad. In the summer of 1864, Union forces tried to break the Confederate line by digging under it and packing the tunnel with explosives, creating a huge crater. Union troops stormed into the hole - just to became easy targets for Confederate riflemen.

Lookout Mountain Battlefield expansion costs $4.8M
Wearing Union blue and leaning on a musket in the 3,000 acre Lookout Mountain Battlefield, Civil War Re-enactor Preston Brown said the government's $4.8M outlay to make the park bigger is fine with him. He switched from his Confederate gray for a demonstration at the dedication of a 382-acre park expansion. Standing near monuments dedicated to troops who fought in the 1863 "Battle Above the Clouds," Brown said that the added acreage to the mountaintop will keep getting more expensive than $12,600 an acre as time passes. "We need to preserve the history now. It will be gone if we wait too long."

Group: Historic Battlefields Threatened
The site of the single bloodiest day in American history is under siege: threatened by a 120-foot cell phone tower. The vast field in Maryland is where the Battle of Antietam - which ended General Robert E. Lee's first attempt to invade the north - was fought on Sept. 17, 1862. It's one of the 10 most endangered Civil War battlefields, according to a report by the Civil War Preservation Trust. "In almost all cases, it is suburban sprawl that threatens these battlefields. We're not against development, but we're for thoughtful, sensitive growth..." said Jim Lighthizer, president of the trust.

More recognition to some of Civil War's first battlefields
Four gravestones stand lookout at the head of a sunken mass grave. A whitewashed rail fence surrounds it and a Confederate flag wavers over it. It's as if time stopped here in 1861, right after these dead Confederates lost one of the very first battles of the Civil War. That makes Laurel Hill a very rare jewel: a Civil War battlefield uncorrupted by tourism. "It's like stepping back in time," said Hunter Lesser, an archaeologist and historic consultant who served as adviser for The Conservation Fund's "The Civil War Battlefield Guide." He also wrote the book on the battle of Laurel Hill - "Rebels at the Gate."

Two Civil War guides: Civil War Sites and Civil War Battlefields
The Civil War Preservation Trust's second edition of James M. McPherson's "Civil War Sites: The Official Guide to the Civil War Discovery Trail" is a concise introduction to over 600 venues across the country, like battlefields, forts, museums, archives, historic homes and cemeteries. "Civil War Battlefields: Discovering America's Hallowed Ground" by Jeff Shaara takes a different approach, presenting 10 battlefields, each with its own story, and hints on what visitors should see.

A new face at the place where Vicksburg's struggle began   (Article no longer available from the original source)
From museums to battlefields, Vicksburg bursts with reminders of General Ulysses S. Grant's 1862-1863 attempt to capture the city and assume control of the Mississippi. To see the site of the campaign's first battle one must get across the tree-studded ravines of Claiborne County to the yard of a building that was nearly falling down. Restored by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and rededicated the structure is the Shaifer house. In April 1863 the Confederate army posted an advance unit there to guard against advances on Port Gibson by Grant's forces, which had crossed the Mississippi River on April 30.

Battlefield archaeologists to map "Boonville races" battle-area   (Article no longer available from the original source)
History sleuths armed with metal detectors will move upon a country lane in hopes of mapping where the bullets flew during Missouri's first Civil War battle. Historians know where the "Boonville races" battle took place, but they want a more detailed map. Battlefield archaeologist Douglas Scott plans to lead a team along the gravel road. On June 17, 1861, 1,600 Union soldiers under General Nathanial Lyon routed a camp of 1,500 Southern-sympathizing state militiamen. With the militia was then-governor Claiborne Jackson, who tried to pull Missouri into the Confederacy. Union troops called the battle the "Boonville races," for the speed of the militia's retreat.

Civil War history through iPod tour - The second largest historic area   (Article no longer available from the original source)
29 Kansas counties are in line to receive up to $10M to help people relive history with an iPod. It's all about freedom. From its inception, Kansas was about struggles for freedom and survival: those of American Indians, black Americans, women and states. To recognize that, Congress has designated 29 counties in eastern Kansas and 12 in Missouri a National Heritage Area, creating the second largest historic area in the nation. Rather than constructing a multimillion-dollar museum building - the kind that is attracting fewer visitors these days - organizers are planning to allow visitors to download stories on their iPods and computers for selfguided tours.

A plantation that served as a Union headquarters during Civil War
A plantation that served as a Union headquarters during the Civil War is on the market in Remington, Va., for $2.95M. Known as Presque Isle, French for "almost an island," or as the Willis House to locals, the brick manor home, built 1813, housed the command post for officer and tactician extraordinaire Emory Upton. It was the site from which he planned incursions through Northern Virginia. The house is on a knoll, and the Hazel River winds around the property, making it easy to defend because attackers would need to ford the river to get there.

Battleground Richmond - Confederacy`s capital
So near and yet so far. That must have been the feeling among Union officials in Washington, D.C., during the Civil War. Richmond lay a mere 100 miles away. Yet it took 4 years and two bloody campaigns to get the city to fall. A lot happened in Richmond during those years. For visitors seeking an overview of it all, the National Park Service has mapped out a driving tour of what it calls Richmond National Battlefield Park. The sites along the 80-mile route are mostly from Maj. Gen. George McClellan`s 1862 attempt, but they also include forts and a battlefield from Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant`s successful 1864 campaign.

Reenactors Revive Civil War Struggle
45 years ago 2,500 soldiers marched on Manassas National Battlefield Park to mark the Battle of First Manassas (First Bull Run). Dressed in cheap blue and gray work shirts (as uniforms), they ran and fired blanks. Stuffed dummies were set to look like corpses. There were 50,000 spectators, and the hobby of Civil War reenacting was born. The crowd took a heavy toll on the park, and that was the last time the National Park let reenactors use the battlefield. But the hobby has grown and so has the dedication to material authenticity. It's one of the fastest-growing hobbies, and there are about 150,000 Civil War reenactors.

Battlefields Trust to purchase Battle of Fredericksburg ground
The Central Virginia Battlefields Trust has made a commitment in the effort to purchase a Spotsylvania County farm that played a key role in the Battle of Fredericksburg. The local preservation group has saved hundreds of acres of important Civil War land. The land, known during the war as Slaughter Pen, is on Tidewater Trail just east of Shannon Airport. Of the 9,000 men killed or wounded on the southern end of the Battle of Fredericksburg, some 5,000 met their fate on the farm.