Wherever he goes, 11-year-old Adam Webb looks for Civil War artifacts to collect. In his bedroom, he displays 150-year-old Civil War items, including buttons and bullets. He also has a collection of books about the war. He sketches pictures of Civil War heroes and uses Lincoln Logs to build replicas of homes from the 1800s.
“I love learning about the history of the Civil War,” says the Ashland Elementary School fifth-grader. Growing up in Manassas, he says, he has been surrounded by Civil War history his entire life.
Another treasure that Adam keeps in his room is a set of 189 trading cards from Civil War-related national parks in the Eastern United States. The National Park Service created the cards to mark the 150th anniversary of the war. Since he collected his first card in the summer of 2011, Adam has visited many national parks in pursuit of collecting all of the cards.
It started on the way home from a baseball tournament in North Carolina, when he and his dad stopped at the Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park. “That’s where Stonewall Jackson [a famous Confederate general] died,” Adam says. “A ranger handed me a card. I thought it was pretty cool, and if there were more cards, I wanted some.”
Since that day, Adam has traveled as far north as Boston (his aunt took him there for a Red Sox game on his 11th birthday) to collect cards. During a vacation to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, he and his family drove to Fort Sumter, where the Civil War began, to collect cards.
“My favorite general at Fort Sumter was General Beauregard,” he says. “He led the Southerners into Fort Sumter and started firing off all the ammo.”
Adam loves to read facts on the back of the cards and look at the historic pictures. Like the facts you might find on the back of a baseball card, the National Park Service cards provide lots of information for historians of any age, including names and birthdays of Civil War heroes. (For instance, Adam’s favorite general had four names: Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard.) The cards also list important dates, places and facts, such as that President Abraham Lincoln was born in 1809 in a one-room log cabin in Kentucky.
In November, National Park Service rangers recognized Adam’s efforts to collect all the Civil War trading cards. At a ceremony on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, they congratulated him and gave him the two cards he needed to complete his set: the Lincoln Memorial and the Grant Memorial. Right away, he slipped the cards into the blue binder where he keeps the set.
But the cards he has collected are trading cards, after all. Would Adam ever consider trading them?
“No, ma’am,” he says. “I love the Civil War. It’s been a lot of hard work to get those cards. I’ve gone all over. They mean too much to me to ever trade them.”
→How much do you know about the Civil War?
You can take a quiz online at www.
nationalmall.org/civil-war-quiz to test your knowledge. (Always ask a grown-up before going online.)