The Civilian Experience

of Gettysburg resident looking at Lutheran Theological Seminary.

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.

Showing results 11-15 of 22

  • Wilson's Creek National Battlefield

    Slaves, Unionists, and Secessionists

    Print of General Nathaniel Lyon falling from horse after being shot during the Battle of  Wilson's Creek

    Local residents of the Wilson's Creek, Missouri area in 1861 were a microcosm of the divided nation, bringing with them different backgrounds and beliefs about slavery and Union. For example, John Ray and his wife, Roxanna, whose farm would be in the midst of the battle, were slave owning Southerners, though they supported the Union. Read more

  • Photograph staff at a field hospital

    Taking care of the wounded and sick soldiers of the Civil War was taken on my civilians and military professionals. Civilians helped out with a variety of tasks in a hospital, while the doctors tried their best with the large numbers of casualties. Read more

  • Photo of Robert E. Lee

    The Battle of Shiloh is remembered as a decisive moment in the Civil War - a brutal 2-day engagement that shocked the nation into facing the horrors of war. But there's another story that's less often told, about the battle's terrible toll on the local community in Tennessee. Read more

  • Painting of civilians under fire during the Siege of Vicksburg

    After being mere spectators at the war's early battles, civilians both near and far from the battlefields became unwilling participants and victims of the war as its toll of blood and treasure grew year after year. In response to the hardships imposed upon their fellow citizens by the war, civilians on both sides mobilized to provide comfort, encouragement, and material, and began to expect that their government should do the same. Read more

  • Photo of African American refugee family

    Roanoke Island is most famous for its "Lost Colony" of the 1580s, but 280 years later was the scene of another bold experiment on a new frontier. Following its capture by Union forces in 1862, Roanoke Island became the site of a Freedmen's Colony for newly freed African Americans, where education and a new way of living could be experienced. Read more

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