The Civilian Experience
After being mere spectators at the war's early battles, civilians in the war zone later would become unwilling participants and victims of the war's expanding scope and horror.
In response to the hardships imposed upon their fellow citizens by the war, governments and civilians on both sides mobilized to provide comfort, encouragement, and materiel goods. On the other hand, the Confederate government failed almost completely to care for the families of its soldiers.
Stories from The Civilian Experience
Showing results 1-5 of 16
Manassas National Battlefield Park
Like many soldiers on the eve of the first major battle of the Civil War, Sullivan Ballou feared he might not survive the conflict. The letter he wrote to his wife, expressing his anxiety, remains on the the most famous, and poignent, written during the war. Read more
Gettysburg National Military Park
In 1863, invading Confederates occupied Gettysburg, Pennsylvania before and during the Battle of Gettysburg. A few citizens of the town joined the fight, while others fled. As the battle intensified, many found themselves tending the wounded and dying. Many first-person accounts of this harrowing experience survive. Read more
The somber aftermath of Civil War battles introduced Americans--North and South--to death on an unprecedented scale and of an unnatural kind, often ending in an unmarked grave far from home. Neither individuals, nor institutions, nor governments were prepared to deal with death on such a massive scale, for never before or since have we killed so many of our own. The Civil War revolutionized the American military's approach to caring for the dead, leading to our modern culture of reverence for military death. Read more
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
Because of its strategic military importance, Harpers Ferry was the object of Union and Confederate attention throughout the war. The town's residents, including Frederick Roeder, were often caught in the crossfire. Read more
The Civil War was an American epic and an American tragedy. The bloodiest war in United States history claimed the lives of more than 620,000 Americans. Hispanics were very much a part of this conflict. They knew hardship, fear, death, and destruction. They experienced victory and defeat. Some performed acts of spectacular gallantry. Others provided steady service that attracted little comment or notice. Read more