Past is Prologue

Clint Schemmer writes about history, heritage preservation and the American Civil War.  On Facebook: Past is Prologue  On Twitter: @prologuepast  ContactEmail Clint or call 540/374-5424.

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Park Service Rolls Out Civil War 150 Website

MORE: Read more news from Fredericksburg

RICHMOND–A snazzy new gift has just been bestowed upon all those searching the Internet in search of travel ideas and historical lore.

The National Park Service announced the full-blown launch of a specially themed website – – that pulls together scads of material that will aid travelers and visitors, local or international, to more than 100 NPS places with Civil War stories to tell.

Think of it as the one-stop-shopping place for Civil War resources across the Park Service’s array of parks, monuments and sites across America, from the Pacific Northwest to the Gulf coast to the Old Dominion.

The site will be “an invaluable tool for both students of the Civil War and visitors to our historic sites,” National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said Wednesday. “It also gives the war and events that occurred a century and a

half ago meaning to 21st-century Americans.”

More than a quarter of all the national parks — that’s 100-plus — preserve Civil War sites or interpret people and events related to the war, Jarvis noted.

The website’s roll-out — part of the agency’s commemoration of the Civil War’s 150th anniversary — comes the week of the sesquicentennial of Battle of Shiloh, the bloodiest battle in American history at the time.

Providing an overview of the war, the site offers a big cross-section of well-illustrated content.  Browsers will find biographies of notable individuals linked with the war, whether military or civilian; places within the Park System that interpret the Civil War; and data on how the agency’s professionals preserve Civil War battlefields, objects, landscapes and other historic resources. And they’ll learn about the causes of the conflict, and its consequences.

New content will be added regularly. The Park Service said it encourages visitors to check back often.

Among the new website’s other features are:

Timeline – An interactive timeline of the war’s causes, events and civil-rights legacies that spans nearly 400 years of American history, from slavery’s foundations with the arrival of the first Africans in America — at Jamestown in 1619 — to modern day.

Civil War Reporter – Daily tweets by Beglan O’Brien, a fictional Civil War-era correspondent, whose reports on events from 150 years ago are streamed to the website via Twitter. O’Brien can also be followed directly on Twitter (search CivilWarReportr) and Facebook (search Civil War Reporter).  His nose for news — from the era’s politics to eyewitness accounts of events to wartime fashions — delivers intriguing updates, rumor and information.

Related Resources – The website links to other material, including the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System that helps people trace their ancestors who served in the conflict; the dozens of national parks that tell the story of the Civil War and its many legacies; and Then & Now features showing how events of 150 years ago continue to influence 21st-century America.