Fort McHenry-The Civil War Origins of Memorial Day

Partner Event
May 25 - 27, 2024 @ 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM EDT

2400 E Fort Ave
Baltimore, MD 21230

On May 25—27, 2024 Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine will offer special programs focusing on the Civil War origins of Memorial Day. The weekend will feature a Civil War living history encampment and ranger programs focusing on how Memorial Day began.

During the Civil War Americans witnessed the loss of over 620,000 brothers, husbands, and sons in uniform. Using poetry and prose of the Civil War era, rangers will share the story of how various communities coped with the loss of their loved ones during the war. Families sought solace for their loss and visited their local churchyards to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers. Out of this practice the concept of Memorial Day emerged as a day to honor those who died in service.

Throughout the weekend visitors can experience the sights and sounds of the Civil War through living history demonstrations. Hear the roar of the drums as the Civil War quicksteps of the Fort McHenry Guard Fife and Drum Corps echo across the parade ground. Take a walk through the Star Fort with a ranger to learn about Fort McHenry’s controversial role in the Civil War as the “American Bastille,” and help our rangers raise the stars and stripes over the ramparts.

Visitors may also explore the exhibits and feature movie in the Visitor and Education Center.

Fee for entrance into the historic Star Fort is $15 per adult (age 16 years and up). America the Beautiful National Parks Passes are also accepted. Fee information is available at: