Civil War Heritage Trails (CVI) is a nonprofit organization supported through the generosity of many individuals, organizations and communities. This support is essential to telling the stories of the Civil War era throughout Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina.
The Civil War, or War Between the States, changed America forever. More than 40,000 soldiers from Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina were killed between 1861 and 1865, while over 1.3 million slaves were emancipated by the War’s outcome. Its historic impact upon these three states was far greater than from any other war, hurricane or sporting spectacular.
Founded in 1999, Civil War Heritage Trails interprets this era along its 13 historic routes, while leading visitors on an experience back in time. The drives themselves, along many of the same roads once traveled by soldiers wearing blue or gray, are as significant to understanding the importance of all three states as are the “interpretive markers.” Civil War Heritage Trails also highlights various preservation opportunities, with numerous scenic and cultural benefits.
Q: Who does CVI serve?
A: The educational benefits of Civil War Heritage Trails are plentiful. Through a multi-level “History Committee,” with representatives from the National Park Service, State Park Services, colleges and universities, plus many local historians, the content of each interpretive marker is carefully reviewed. Documentation is required, and each marker includes a map, photos and/or Civil War era drawings, to help history “come alive.” And all markers are located near public parking. Such features are great for individuals, families, school field trips and group tours.
Q: What is the organization’s proudest accomplishment?
A: Thanks to the involvement of hundreds of local communities, assisted by numerous private, state and federal entities, Civil War Heritage Trails has begun erecting thousands of colorful highway directional “trailblazer” signs, and hundreds of new interpretive markers, at historic locations stretching from the mountain valleys and cities to the sea, and from the Piedmont across the plains to the coast. We invite you to drive Civil War Heritage Trails, and to visit many of the places where important history was made.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: Many additional topics are also interpreted along the route of each trail, including the roles of women, African Americans, hospitals, churches and railroads. Interpretive markers are “linked” along each route to national and state parks, museums and other heritage attractions. As they become available, visitors will be able to download a full-color brochure of each trail or request a complete brochure at many regional visitor centers.