Battleground State: Missouri’s Role in the Civil War

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Historic Sites , Historic Sites / Civil War , State Parks and State Historic Sites , Carthage , Pilot Knob , Higginsville , Lexington
Battleground State: Missouri’s Role in the Civil War
Author: Scott McCullough

Civil War Battle Sites and Other Historic Places to Visit in Missouri

The Civil War affected nearly every person in the divided nation. Missouri played a significant role during this difficult and historically pivotal time, which is apparent by all the Civil War battle sites scattered throughout the state. Now, some 150 years later, Civil War history buffs − and anyone who takes an interest in the history of Missouri − find plenty of historic places to visit and to learn about the war in Missouri.

The Civil War Battle Sites of Lexington

In Lexington, the Anderson House is a historic building legendary for its part in the war. For three days in 1861, the stately mansion became one of Missouri's important Civil War battle sites for clashing members of the Union Army and the Missouri State Guard. This deadly firefight, known as the Battle of Lexington, was one of the Civil War's major battles. Visitors tour both the historic building (Anderson House) and the 100 acres of Civil War battleground still preserved. The visitors center contains exhibits and programs that provide further insight into the battle that took place at this historic building on these historic grounds.

Historic Places to Visit at the Site of the Battle of Athens

History is perfectly preserved at the Battle of Athens State Historic Site, the northernmost of all Civil War battle sites located west of the Mississippi River. While the town of Athens was once a bustling place, it fell into decline following the Civil War; where once stood dozens of businesses, very few historic places to visit remain. Visitors see interesting structures, including the Thorne-Benning House, which was hit by a cannonball during the battle. Take a tour to learn about the history of the battle and the town, then enjoy the serene scenery by going on a hike or fishing in the nearby lake.

More Historic Places to Visit and Learn in Missouri

In Higginsville, the Confederate Memorial State Historic Site is one of the more somber places to visit in Missouri, as it serves as the final resting place of 40,000 Missourians who fought as members of the Confederate Army. Visitors tour the 135-acre park, which contains the cemetery, chapel and a few small lakes.

History aficionados enjoy visiting the important Civil War battle sites surrounding the preserved earthen fort at the
Battle of Pilot Knob State Historic Site in Pilot Knob, where the pivotal Battle of Pilot Knob was fought. Interpretive exhibits share the story of the battle.

At the
Battle of Carthage State Historic Site,  in Carthage, visit the place where a furious 12-hour Civil War battle raged on July 5, 1861.


 Battle of Lexington State Historic Site
The site features the Civil War battlefield and the Anderson House, which was used as a field hospital ...

 Battle of Athens State Historic Site
At this site, Union troops defeated the pro-south Missouri State Guard in 1861; it was the northernmost ...

 Battle of Carthage State Historic Site
This is the location of the final confrontation of a 12-hour Civil War battle on July 5, 1861, where ...

 Confederate Memorial State Historic Site
This 135-acre memorial park area of the Confederate Home of Missouri is preserved in memory of the 40,000 ...

 Battle of Pilot Knob State Historic Site
The Civil War Battle of Pilot Knob was fought here when Confederate troops attacked the earthen fort ...