Union Leader

Local secrets of the Civil War

abolitionhill_0Photo: Todd L. Dickson


oston was a center of the abolition movement, and has always been been a place of strongly held opinion. So its role in the Civil War is not surprising. What is surprising is how many landmarks and collections from that war are here, considering how far away the fighting happened. The world’s largest collection of Confederate books and pamphlets, for example. The pen with which Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, and the home of the actress he was watching on the night when he was shot. Some of these are well known, like the 1897 Robert Gould Shaw 54th Regiment Memorial in front of the State House, commemorating the all-black Civil War company from Boston that was the subject of the movie Glory. But here’s something you didn’t know even about that: When it was built, the monument bore only the names of the regiment’s white officers; the names of blacks who died weren’t added until 1982.


The city’s other freedom trail, where the seeds of abolition grew


An historic bakery that still makes food the soldiers ate


The home of the vice president who is suspected of revealing plans for the northern invasion of Virginia


The home of the last actress Abraham Lincoln ever saw


The home of a Civil War hero you haven’t heard about


The world’s largest collection of Confederate books and pamphlets


A Civi War surgeon’s kit in a military museum you’ve passed by but never knew was there


Where to find the pen with which Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation


The house built by a Civil War veteran to ruin his brother’s view


A church paid for by a man who made his fortune selling uniforms to the Union.

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