See sites related to the American Civil War, such as the bookstore where Harriet Beecher Stowes’ incendiary book “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” was published; sites where Lincoln, Frederick Douglas, Charles Sumner, Jeff Davis, and John Wilkes Booth stayed in Boston; visit the Navy Yard where the USS Merrimac was launched (re: Battle of the Monitor and the Merrimac), and see the elegant statue in honor of the Massachusetts 54th Regiment made famous by the film “Glory” (1989), starring Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman; and see Underground Railroad stops and the only existing slave quarters north of the Mason-Dixon Line (Massachusetts didn’t abolish slavery until 1783, and John Hancock was a slave-owner).
On this tour, we take you into our “new” State House, built in 1795, so called because we still have the old State House that was built in 1711, and we’ll take you in through the Hooker Entrance, named after a Massachusetts General who didn’t do all that well in the war. You’ll see the States Hall of Flags, and much more.
In season, if you’re interested, you can request a tour of Fort Warren on George’s Island in Boston Harbor. We rent spaces on a ferry to the island, so getting there is a piece of cake. This fort was used as a P.O.W. prison during the Civil War and it is where Mason and Slidell were held during the Trent Affair. Union soldiers at the fort created the lyrics and the song “John Brown’s Body Lies a’Molderin’ in the Grave” here inside the old Fort, and on Beacon Hill in Boston, you’ll see the home of Julia Ward Howe, who used the music and created the lyrics for the “Battle Hymn of the Republic”.
Across the street from Julia Ward Howe’s home is that of Charles Francis Adams, son of John Quincy Adams. Charles was very intelligent and worldly and married an upper class Englishwoman. Lincoln appointed Adams as our ambassador to England, and his wife was able to gain introductions for Adams into high society in London, which eased the way for the United States to get out of a prickly mess they’d created when the US Navy boarded an English vessel (an act of war) to remove Confederate agents Mason and Slidell, who were en route to England with the goal of getting the Confederacy recognized as an independent nation.
Adams, thereby had the ears of important Englishmen, who were able to diffuse the situation upon the release of Mason and Slidell from this Boston Fort.
A few doors away from the Adams’ home is the home of Senator Daniel Webster.