• Photo of cannon at Antietam National Battlefield

    The Civil War

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.

Stories from Reconciliation, Commemoration, and Preservation

Showing results 6-10 of 10

  • National Cemetery Project Posts Half-Million Indexed Names of Civil War Burials

    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

  • 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

  • The Civil War in American Memory

    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

  • The Robert Gould Shaw Memorial

    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

  • Vicksburg National Military Park

    Vicksburg National Cemetery

    Photo of headstones at Vicksburg National Cemetery

    The Siege of Vicksburg lasted almost two months, and left thousands wounded and killed. To honor the memory of those who lost their lives in the taking of Vicksburg a National Cemetery was constructed. For thousands of men, Vicksburg National Cemetery is their final resting place. Read more