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Buying History: Homes with Ties to the American Civil War

Back in the 1860s, the camera was a particularly cumbersome apparatus, but at the outset of the Civil War, prominent early photographer George S. Scott managed to capture the Battle of Fort Sumter using a single lens camera. That snapshot is now known as one of the first combat photographs of all time. Scott, who had previously travelled the South setting up photography studios, had settled in Charleston, S.C. and built this Italianate mansion in 1860. The house survived the war and shows today just as well as it did more than 150 years ago. Listed for $4M, the Scott mansion was recently renovated and now houses four bedrooms, 4.5 baths, and several gracious sitting rooms. Sitting directly across from the waterfront White Point Gardens, the three levels of porches offer views of greenery and peeks at the water.

? In a story that Maryland's southern sympathizers probably love to retell, this house was raided by Union soldiers during the war and had its entire basement excavated in a hunt for a treasure allegedly hidden their by a wealthy widow who died during the war. The soldiers came up empty handed and the house stood up to the abuse. Today, the one-acre plot is home to the main house, a period ice house, mature gardens, and a swimming pool. Listed for $369K, the white clapboard house is cheaper thanks to its remote location in Accomac, Va., on Virginia's Eastern Shore.

? Massachusetts was never the site of any Civil War combat, but the owner of this house in Hingham, Mass. played a big role in one of the most memorable battles of the war. Governor John Andrew, who spent his summers in this suburban home, authorized the formation of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, the famous black unit immortalized in the movie Glory. Restored in 2010, the Greek Revival manse is currently listed for $3M. That price includes five bedrooms and 4.5 baths spread over 6,300 square feet.

? Just across the river from Washington, D.C. in Alexandria, Va., this estate was once part of George Washington's Mount Vernon hunting grounds. The mansion was completed in 1816, later served as the Fairfax School—attended by Robert E. Lee's son—and during the Civil War served as a Union Army hospital. Today, the 3.5-acre estate, known as Clarens, sits behind imported wrought-iron gates and retains many of the brick walls that formed the Civil War-era fort. That's not to say it hasn't been updated, including a swimming pool, but some of the interiors look pretty dated for a mansion asking close to $9M.

? This Monteagle, Tenn. listing is short on photos, but long on interesting Civil War history. Known as Wrenn's Nest, it was built in 1908 by a Ensign George Leonidas Wrenn and his wife. The Mississippi-born Wrenn fought on both the Confederate and Union sides during the war, managed to survive, and built this mansion with a considerable fortune he had managed to retain throughout the war. The opportunistic Wrenn died in 1912, just four years after the house was completed, but his wife lived out her years here. After she passed away in 1936, the mansion was converted into a rest home. There's no telling what the interiors look like, but the sole exterior shot makes the house look generally well-kept. Good thing too, because the place is asking $600K.

· George S. Cook's Combat Action Photograph [CCWP]
· 28 S Battery St [ZIllow]
· 23292 Front Street [Zillow]
· 110 Summer Street [Zillow]
· Clarens Est [Zillow]
· 53 Valley View Drive [Zillow]