5 Historic Battlegrounds You Can Visit Today

By Audrey W. | Arcadia Staff
Throughout America’s short lifetime, it has witnessed countless tumultuous ups and downs of conflict on its soil. The confrontations of the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and the Civil War left their marks on the history and land of the country. Many of these places have been preserved today, and invite visitors to walk through their grounds, recalling the implications of what took place there. Here are 5 historic battlegrounds you can still visit today.

Fort Sumter.Battle of Fort Sumter
South Carolina

After the War of 1812, Fort Sumter, complete with towering walls and heavy artillery, was erected. When the Civil War began, it was claimed by the Confederate army. The first battle that took place here was in 1861, when the Confederate army fired at Union soldiers. Union troops managed to cut off the fort’s supply resources, forcing Confederates to surrender. The second battle in 1863 was an attempt by Union soldiers to reclaim the fort. The attack was ultimately a failure, and resulted in the destruction of most of the fort. Fort Sumter remained in Confederate possession through the end of the Civil War. Today, visitors can take public tours of Fort Sumter to learn of its historical significance.

Battle of Gettysburg

For most historians, the battle at Gettysburg is considered one of the most important conflicts of the American Civil War. Fought from July 1 to July 3, 1863, the fight erupted when General Robert E. Lee led his Confederate army into Pennsylvania and attacked the army of Union leader General George G. Meade. After three long and treacherous days of battle, Lee was forced to retreat. On the Union side, there were 23,000 deaths, while the Confederates suffered 28,000. It was a pivotal battle for the Civil War. The North celebrated the victory, while the South saw its hopes of recognition as an independent nation dashed. Visitors are invited to explore the Gettysburg Battlefield, National Military Park, and National Cemetery.

A map of King’s Mountain, where the Battle of Cowpens took place.Battle of Cowpens
South Carolina

Regarded today as one of the most decisive battles of the Revolutionary War, the Battle of Cowpens was an enormous victory for the American army. In early 1781, the regions that would become North and South Carolina were under heavy British control. 2,000 American Colonial forces led by General Daniel Morgan set up against 1,000 British troops. The victory was swift, with Morgan’s troops suffering only 20 casualties while the British army lost over half. For the morale and support of local Colonial sympathizers, the Battle of Cowpens was a transformative event of the war.

Battle of Glorieta Pass
New Mexico

The Battle of Glorieta Pass during the Civil War aimed to be an explosive victory for Confederate troops trying to break up Union hold of the New Mexico region. On March 26, skirmishes between the two sides evolved into a full battle, and by March 28, the two sides were fighting head-on. Confederate soldiers were successful in pushing back the Union army, but were forced to withdraw when their supplies ran short. Thus, the attempt was largely regarded as a failure by the Confederate army, and served as a pivotal moment in the Civil War’s territorial fight over the American Southwest. Today, the battleground is preserved as a National Historic Landmark and open for visitors. 

Fort Ticonderoga.Battle of Carillon
New York

During the French and Indian War in the mid-1700s, French troops confronted an overwhelming oppositional force on the border of New York and Vermont. French soldiers had been constructing Fort Carillon on a hill nearby when General Louis-Joseph de Moncalm received word of 18,000 British troops awaiting orders to attack. The French General’s 3,600 troops hardly stood a chance, but nonetheless, they stationed themselves in a bluff and waited. When the British attacked, they were met with swift cannon and gunfire. By the end of the day, the British were forced to retreat, leaving the French with a sound victory. Fort Carillon is now known as Fort Ticonderoga, and is one of the best preserved military forts in America.

These battlegrounds mark decisive moments in history and invite visitors to explore how these confrontations might have changed the course of history. When making a trip to one of these famous battlegrounds, visitors experience a trip through history, learning the stories of what was gained and lost through these conflicts. They are remembered as events of perseverance and strength that forever altered American history.