• Photo of cannon at Antietam National Battlefield

    The Civil War


Photo of Confederate civilian Mary Boykin Chesnut

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 material goods. Unfortunately, due to scarcity of resources and devastation caused by the Union armies, the Confederate government failed almost completely to care for the families of its soldiers

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  • Clara Barton

    Photo of Clara Barton

    Arguably the most famous Civil War nurse, Clara Barton went to great lengths to see after the sick and wounded and to ensure that they were treated both expediently and humanely. Her work in the war led her to found the American Red Cross, an organization that would provide humanitarian relief for a wide variety of crises. Read more

  • Ford's Theatre National Historic Site

    John Wilkes Booth

    Photo of John Wilkes Booth

    Hailing from a famous acting family, John Wilkes Booth served as a Confederate secret agent and in 1864, began to plan to kidnap Abraham Lincoln. After the fall of Richmond in 1865, his plan changed from kidnapping to assassination. On April 14th, he shot the president at Ford's Theatre. Read more

  • Manassas National Battlefield Park

    Belle Boyd

    Photo of Belle Boyd

    One of the Confederacy's most famous spies, Belle Boyd's life played out like a James Bond character: she was betrayed by a lover, later captured taking Confederate papers to England, and fell in love with and married her captor. Read more

  • Antietam National Battlefield

    Mathew Brady

    Photo of Mathew Brady

    Mathew Brady was a photographic pioneer who achieved fame photographing famous Americans. When the war began Brady set out to document the war in photographs, famously photographing corpses after the Battle of Antietam and bringing the horror of the war home in a way that had never been done before. Read more

  • Fort Sumter National Monument

    Mary Boykin Chesnut

    Photo of Mary Boykin

    Mary Boykin Chesnut kept a famous diary that captured the struggles people experienced during the American Civil War. Her journal of the war years, first published in 1905, gave readers an in-depth view of what life was like for Southerners, especially women, during the war. Read more