The Civil War affected nearly every person in the divided nation. Missouri played a significant role during this difficult and historically pivotal time. Civil War history buffs − and anyone who takes an interest in the history of Missouri − find plenty to learn about in Missouri.
In Lexington, the Anderson House is legendary for its part in the war. For three days in 1861, the stately mansion became a battleground 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 Anderson House and the 100 acres of preserved battlefield. The visitors center contains exhibits and programs that provide further insight into the battle.
History is perfectly preserved at the Battle of Athens State Historic Site, the northernmost Civil War battlefield 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 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.
In Higginsville, the Confederate Memorial State Historic Site serves as the final resting place for 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 preserved earthen fort at the Fort Davidson 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 12-hour battle raged on July 5, 1861.