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Civil War Home Front Collections Now Online

Civil War

We are all familiar with the great battles of the Civil War and the touted generals, but we don’t always get to hear the other voices of the war. What is it like to be far away from home for the very first time and to have this first experience be tainted by the strain of battle? How does a husband respond to his wife when she tells him his children are cold and hungry because she has no money? Can a soldier really tell his father or fiancée about what he experienced at Antietam or Gettysburg, or does he gloss over the gruesomeness? 

A digital Civil War Home Front collection of more than 1,200 documents provides insight to the feelings of both Indiana soldiers and their loved ones as they dealt with both the major events of the Civil War and more mundane activities such as farming, keeping house and camp life.

In addition to the letters that make up the bulk of the collection, printed materials and artifacts help put together a more complete picture of what life looked and felt like. This includes currency, a cross-stitched handkerchief, broadsides, invitations to fundraisers for the troops and newspapers, which were so valued in the soldiers’ camp.

Those who use this collection will be able to search and access it through www.indianahistory.org on the Digital Collections page. In addition, the collection will be available as a resource on the Indiana Sesquicentennial of the Civil War and Indiana Memory websites at www.in.gov.

This collection was created through an LSTA Digitizaton Grant in which IHS partnered with IUPUI University Library – www.ulib.iupui.edu/digitalscholarship.