Free Civil War Trading Cards


William Carney
Carney Academy in New Bedford is named after William Carney.

Trading cards have been popular for generations, from images of sports figures to movie stars.  Now, New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park is offering free trading cards featuring figures of the Civil War who had ties to the city.

The ten cards available at New Bedford are part of a series of 189 cards that may be obtained at participating national parks throughout the northeastern United States while the National Park Service observes the Civil War 150th anniversary (2011-2015).  Ways to “earn” a trading card include participating in a ranger-led tour or answering a question about their visit to the park.

While the cards address both major battles and famous generals, they also tell the story of everyday people who participated in the Civil War.  One card, for example, features William Carney of New Bedford, who was wounded three times during the bloody assault on Fort Wagner near Charleston, South Carolina.  For his bravery in the battle, he became the first African-American to earn the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military award.

“The trading cards are vehicles for telling some ‘lesser-known’ stories—including the stories of civilians, women, and African-Americans,” said Superintendent Jen Nersesian. “The trading cards are a great way to engage us in our history as a nation, both here in New Bedford and throughout the northeast United States.”  According to Superintendent Nersesian, the cards also provide an incentive to families to visit all 23 parks which offer the cards.  Visitors may earn a set of Civil War Trading Cards at New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park in the following ways: Bring in trading cards to the information desk from another participating site; Take a photo in front of 54th Regiment Plaza on William Street and show it to park staff; Download “54,” The Youth Ambassador Program (YAP!) song, from SoundCloud ( and show your Ipod to the information desk staff or recite lyrics from the song; Visit the park’s website at and answer one of the questions about the 54th Regiment.  In addition, all active-duty military, veterans, and their families qualify to receive a set of trading cards.  A visit to two or more participating parks qualifies children (18 years of age and younger) to receive a free Civil War backpack simply by showing a card from another park.

Learn more about Civil War programs at List of participating parks:

MARYLAND Antietam National Battlefield, Sharpsburg, Maryland Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park, Brunswick, Cumberland, Hancock, Potomac, and Williamsport, Maryland Clara Barton National Historic Site, Glen Echo, Maryland Monocacy National Battlefield, Frederick, Maryland.

MASSACHUSETTS Boston African-American National Historic Site, Boston, Massachusetts Boston Harbor Islands, Boston, Massachusetts Boston National Historical Park, Boston, Massachusetts New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, New Bedford, Massachusetts Lowell National Historical Park, Lowell, Massachusetts.

NEW HAMPSHIRE Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, Cornish, New Hampshire.

PENNSYLVANIA Gettysburg National Military Park, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

VIRGINIA Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, Appomattox, Virginia Arlington House, Robert E. Lee Memorial, Arlington, Virginia Colonial National Historical Park, Yorktown, Virginia Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park, Fredericksburg, Virginia Manassas National Battlefield, Manassas, Virginia Petersburg National Battlefield, Petersburg, Virginia Richmond National Battlefield Park, Richmond, Virginia.

WASHINGTON, D.C. Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park Civil War Defenses of Washington George Washington Memorial Parkway Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site National Mall and Memorial Parks

WEST VIRGINIA Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

About Michael Silvia

Served 20 years in the United States Air Force. Owner of New Bedford Guide.

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