Reconciliation, Commemoration, and Preservation

Turn of the century post card showing elderly Union and Confederate veterans in uniform, draped in United States flag.

In the wake of the bloodiest, most destructive war of the century, the North and South sought political and cultural reconciliation. Soldiers on both sides sought to reconcile with former enemies by recognizing and commemorating their shared sacrifice. The Reconstruction-era goal of equality for Americans of color was largely abandoned by white Americans.

The varied efforts at commemoration and preservation by succeeding generations illustrate society's evolving values and views on the Civil War.

Showing results 6-10 of 11

  • Photo of Antietam National Cemetery

    Rosters of burials in America's National Cemeteries are being digitized from the original leather bound ledgers, providing a boon to researchers and genealogists as the records are made avaialble online. Read more

  • Monocacy National Battlefield

    Special Orders 191 Today

    Modern photograph of Special Orders 191 in the current state

    The legacy of Special Orders 191 Read more

  • Antietam National Battlefield

    The Bravest of the Brave - The Medal of Honor

    Painting of the fighting around the Dunker Church, by Captain John Hope

    The Medal of Honor, the nation's highest recognition for military gallantry over and above the call of duty, was one of the Civil War's many innovations, first awarded to sailors in 1861 and soldiers in 1862. Read more

  • Elderly Union and Confederate veterans shake hands at the fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg

    America's cultural memories of the Civil War are inseparably intertwined with that most "peculiar institution" of American history - racial slavery. But in the struggle over Civil War memory which began as soon as the war was over and continues to this day, rival cultural memories of reconciliation and white supremacy have often prevailed. Therein lies the challenge as the National Park Service - a public agency - seeks to "provide understanding" of the Civil War era's lasting impact upon the development of our nation. Read more

  • Photo of the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial, with Shaw on horseback accompanying his 54th Massachusetts Infantry

    The individuality of the figures in the Shaw Memorial is one of the monument's most striking and affecting characteristics. This version is on display at the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site near Cornish, New Hampshire. Read more

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