April marks 150th anniversary of Civil War’s end
April, May, and June all contain 150-year anniversaries of key events of the end of the American Civil War, so this spring is a perfect time to travel to some of the spots around Texas that played an important role in this long-ago conflict that echoes through our culture and politics today.
Two state historic sites – the Varner-Hogg Plantation and the Levi Jordan Plantation – both offer examples of the life and work of Texas slaves, whose status and future would ultimately be decided by the course of the war. While Varner-Hogg Plantation is open (www.
Militarily, within its borders Texas was fortunate to avoid the carnage experienced by other states during the war. However, there were significant actions at Galveston, and two battles occurred at Sabine Pass. The more significant 1863 battle and its place in Texas history is thoroughly documented at the Sabine Pass Battleground State Historic Site in Port Arthur (www.
Many Confederate soldiers are buried in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin (www.cemetery.state.tx.us/). One of the most prominent internees is Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston, who died at the Battle of Shiloh in the Civil War. Johnston’s tomb was sculpted by the noted artist Elisabet Ney. While a monument to the men and women who made Texas great, the cemetery also serves as a somber reminder of the human cost of the Confederate struggle.
Finally, Galveston offers many commemorations and celebrations of a bittersweet event that occurred after the end of the war – the Union’s notice to Texas slaves that they were now freed, delivered June 19, 1865, several months after the end of the war. Galveston is planning events for the 150th anniversary this summer (www.galveston.com/juneteenth/
Check out some of these sites and remember the momentous events that despite occurring 150 years ago, still affect and influence Texas, the United States and the world today. For complete information on heritage tourism sites across Texas, visit www.TexasTimeTravel.com.