Explore the Civil War online

One of the most remarkable excursions of my childhood was a two-hour drive east of Memphis to Shiloh National Battlefield.

It was my first visit to a Civil War battlefield. I am not sure what I expected, but I was immediately struck by the peacefulness of the rural Tennessee landscape. Take away the stone monuments to Confederate and Union soldiers, and you might not give a second glance to the thick groves of trees and pastoral fields along an isolated stretch of the Tennessee River.

That battle occurred 150 years ago this month, and as the country continues to mark the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, I’d highly recommend Shiloh as a must-see battlefield. More than 23,000 casualties occurred here during the two-day battle, the bloodiest engagement of the war up until that time. Like Antietam in Maryland, this battlefield is almost untouched by modern intrusions.

To mark the 150th anniversary of the battle and the war, the National Park Service this week launched a Civil War website that offers a wealth of information about the four-year conflict, the many battles and people, both civilians and soldiers. You can search for your Confederate and Union ancestors and even plan trips to battlefields like Shiloh.

And with a nod to the 21st century, the website features Beglan O’Brien, a fictional Civil War correspondent who files daily reports of the war via Twitter. How cool is that?

Check it all out at The Civil War.

Greg Tasker
Greg Tasker is Detroit News Arts and Entertainment Editor and has been writing about travel for more than a decade. His travel stories have appeared in AAA Living, Frommer's Budget Travel, Scouting, AMC Outdoors, Vermont Life and Island Life.