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Courtyard at the Fort Raleigh NHS

Historic Civil War Sites Across NC

Across North Carolina, you'll find a wide range of Civil War history – from battle sites to museums, and every thing in between. Plan your next trek through the Tar Heel State and be sure to explore as many of these top sites as you can. 

1. Fort Raleigh National Historic Site

Out along the North Carolina coast you'll find Manteo, home of the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site. An easy drive in from nearby Kill Devil Hills along Highway 64, Fort Raleigh NHS is 14 acres in size, and helps to preserve what was once the Roanoke Colony.

As you explore the Fort Raleigh NHS Visitor Center & Museum, be sure to check out the many exhibits, displays, and artifacts relating to the area's deep ties to the Civil War – in particular, they feature a wide range of insights into Feedmen's Colony, were former slaves lived after being liberated by Union General Major John G. Foster. 

2. Roanoke Island

Early in 1862, less than a year into the Civil War, the Battle of Roanoke Island occurred. More than 20,000 soldiers and close to 60 sea vessels were engaged in a small, but very important fight whose repercussions where huge. It was the first engagement of the Burnside Expedition

Today, you'll be able to have a full-day experience at Roanoke Island – be sure to try the Thomas Hariot Trail, which yields a quick hike through island's maritime forest. Don't miss the Visitor Center for unique insights, and the Waterside Theatre offers dramatic reenactments. 

By Omarcheeseboro (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

Waterside Theatre on Roanoke Island

3. Fort Anderson

Another worthwhile Civil War site along NC's coast, Fort Anderson can be found just south of Wilmington. During the Civil War, Fort Anderson was part of what was known as they Cape Fear River Defense System. It's main purpose was to help defend the Port of Wilmington.

Today, the Fort Anderson State Historic Site is operated by the state, and it features a visitor center, and wide range of walking trails which will take you in and around the ruins of the town and the fort. 

4. Bentonville Battlefield

Far from the coast within NC's Piedmont region, be sure to check out the Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site. Found in Four Oaks, just south of Smithfield, this site marks the spot of the March 1865 Civil War engagement. 

Major General William T. Sherman lead his 60,000 union troops to a victory over Maj. Gen. Joseph E. Johnson and his near 22,000 Confederate soldiers. Today, you can explore the restored Harber House, which, in it's time, was a Civil War hospital. 

5. Fort Fisher

Much like Fort Anderson, Fort Fisher can be found along the banks of Cape Fear. During the Civil War, it was the largest of the Confederate forts dedicated to protecting Wilmington and its port, all part of the Cape Fear River Defense System. By 1864, Wilmington was the last remaining Confederate port open. The Union took Fort Anderson, and subsequently captured Fort Fisher with the largest naval bombardment of the war

Today, Fort Fisher State Historic Site is a premier destination for vacationers and locals alike. Along with wide open beaches, this site features what's left of the main fort complex, a visitor center, and a museum. 

By Shannon Gable (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

See Fort Mason State Park 

6. North Carolina Museum of History

Originally known as the Hall of History when it was first established in 1902, the North Carolina Museum of History is a premier destination for Civil War buffs. Make your way to downtown Raleigh to explore this impressive landmark. 

Few sites or museums in North Carolina offer the breadth of history and artifacts as you'll find at the NCMOH. 

7. George W. Dixon House

Make a trip out to Swansboro and check out the George W. Dixon House. Also known as the Tryon Palace, this is another of NC's premier Civil War attractions. 

Nearby New Bern was under Union occupation, and this house served as a hospital for the 9th Vermont Infantry. Today, it's part of the larger Tryon Palace Historic Sites & Gardens – be sure to add it to your travel agenda. 

8. Fort Macon State park

As the site of the April 1862 Battle of Fort Macon, Fort Macon State Park is one of the most exceptional Civil War sites in all of North Carolina. A Confederate stronghold for many years, Fort Macon would eventually fall to the Union army.  

With a range of well-preserved fortifications, barracks, and other landmarks, this park also offers ranger-led tours, trails for walks and hikes, and even a protected swimming area. Live demonstrations of muzzle loading are available, and during the summer months, they shoot off canons to mark the start of Memorial Day weekend and other events.


Best Western Hotels Along the Way:


Best Western Ocean Reef Suites

107 S Virginia Dare Trl, Kill Devil Hills NC 27948-7892
Phone: +1 252-441-1611  |  Fax: (252) 441-1482  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »


Best Western Raleigh North-Downtown

2715 Capital Boulevard, Raleigh NC 27604-1509
Phone: +1 919-872-5000  |  Fax: (919) 790-7741  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »


Best Western Smithfield Inn

145 S Equity Drive, Smithfield NC 27577-6035
Phone: +1 919-989-4047  |  Fax: (919) 989-4048  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »


Best Western Plus Silver Creek Inn

801 Cedar Point Boulevard, Swansboro NC 28584-8015
Phone: +1 252-393-9015  |  Fax: (252) 393-9098  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »


Best Western Plus Coastline Inn

503 Nutt Street, Wilmington NC 28401-3339
Phone: +1 910-763-2800  |  Fax: (910) 763-2785  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »


Best Western Plus Wilmington/Carolina Beach

5600 Carolina Beach Road, Wilmington NC 28412-2608
Phone: +1 910-796-0770  |  Fax: (910) 796-0750  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »


Best Western Plus Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach

5345 Market Street, Wilmington NC 28405-3505
Phone: +1 910-799-4292  |  Fax: (910) 799-3994  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »

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