Letters From the Front: Civil War Thanksgiving

Letters From the Front: Civil War Thanksgiving

Nanci Edwards, a Smithsonian Project Manager, shared a letter from her great-great uncle Vidal Thom that he wrote on Thanksgiving to his brother (Edwards’ great-great grandfather) William “Willie” Thom. Vidal Thom was only 19-years-old when he enlisted with the Union army on Christmas Day, 1861 in Nashua, New Hampshire. In this Thanksgiving letter* from Vidal to […]

Women in Civil War Camps

Women in Civil War Camps

Photograph shows women in a Civil War camp.

Wounded Soldiers in Hospital, 1861-1865

Wounded Soldiers in Hospital, 1861-1865

Wounded soldiers during the Civil War-era in a hospital – possibly the Armory Square General Hospital in Washington, D.C.

To Colored Men!, 1861-1865

To Colored Men!, 1861-1865

This poster was used to recruit recently freed slaves to fight in the Civil War for the Union Army. The men were recruited for military duty with the promise of freedom, protection and pay.

Bombproof Tents in Petersburg, 1864

Bombproof Tents in Petersburg, 1864

Part of Federal Line of Works showing bombproof tents occupied by U.S. Colored Troops in front of Petersburg, Virginia on August 7, 1864.

U.S. Military Telegraph Battery Wagon, 1864

U.S. Military Telegraph Battery Wagon, 1864

U.S. military telegraph battery wagon at Army of the Potomac headquarters during the Siege of Petersburg in June 1864.

The Seacoast Mortar “Dictator”

The Seacoast Mortar “Dictator”

The 13-inch seacoast mortar called the “Dictator” is shown above in front of Petersburg, Virginia in October 1864. The seacoast mortar weighed around 17,120 pounds and, due to it’s weight, was transported by railway truck along the railroad track. It fired a 200+ pound shell with a charge of 20 pounds of powder. The angle of […]

Union Camp in Petersburg, 1864

Union Camp in Petersburg, 1864

A Union camp in front of Petersburg, Virginia in August 1864.

Outer Confederate Line, 1864

Outer Confederate Line, 1864

Photograph of the outer line of Confederate fortifications, in front of Petersburg, Va., captured by 18th Army Corps on June 15, 1864.

Letters From the Front – Civil War

Letters From the Front – Civil War

The following letter is from nurse Clara Barton to her cousin, Vira on the eve of major fighting during the Battle of Fredericksburg. Head Quarters 2nd Div. 9th Army Corps-Army of the Potomac Camp near Falmouth, Va. December 12th, 1862 – 2 o’clock A.M. My dear Cousin Vira: Five minutes time with you; and God […]

VI Corps soldiers in trenches, 1863

VI Corps soldiers in trenches, 1863

Soldiers of the VI Corps, Army of the Potomac, in trenches before storming Marye’s Heights at the Second Battle of Fredericksburg during the Chancellorsville campaign, Virginia, May 1863. [Zim’s Note: This photograph is sometimes labeled as taken at the 1864 Siege of Petersburg, Virginia]

Letters From the Front: Civil War

Letters From the Front: Civil War

Letter from Harvey Black in Brandy Station, Virginia. Black, descended from the founding family of Blacksburg, Virginia, served as a surgeon to the Army of Northern Virginia. In this letter to his wife Mary (whom he affectionately nicknamed Mollie) he recounts their courtship and expresses the great love he has for her. Brandy Station, Sunday […]

15th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry

15th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry

This tintype shows Captain Oran Curtis, to the left, with members of the 15th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry, Company F between 1860 and 1870. Captain Curtis was the father of United States Vice President Charles Curtis.

Video: Civil War Vets & the Rebel Yell

Video: Civil War Vets & the Rebel Yell

Rare footage of Civil War veterans doing the Rebel Yell. In this exclusive clip from the 1930s, Confederate veterans step up to the mic and let out their version of the rallying cry.

Company E, 4th U.S. Colored Infantry, 1865

Company E, 4th U.S. Colored Infantry, 1865

The 28 men in this picture are from Company E, 4th United States Colored Infantry. They were one of the detachments assigned to guard the Washington, D.C. during the American Civil War. Here they are photographed with their rifles at Fort Lincoln (now the Fort Lincoln neighborhood) on November 17th, 1865. The 4th United States Colored […]

Captured Cannons, 1865

Captured Cannons, 1865

View of park of artillery captured at the Battle of Chattanooga, November 24, 24, 25, & 26th, 1863. Photo taken around 1865.