April 12, 2011 marked the 150th anniversary of the start of the American Civil War, and the state of Connecticut is paying tribute to the four-year conflict with a commemoration period of equal length. The war cost more American lives--620,000--than every previous and current war combined.
The commemoration period kicked-off with seven canons firing on April 12, 2011 from the lawn of the state capitol. Find out here how you can participate in commemoration activities and learn more about Connecticut’s role in the Civil War. Check organizations' Web sites for admission fees, updates, and additional details.
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“Always a Pleasure to Hear from Home,” Lebanon and the Civil War, through September 2015. During the 1860s, the “War of the Rebellion” affected the lives of Lebanon residents in many ways. A new exhibit at the Lebanon Historical Society Museum explores life in the mid-19th century and the war’s impact on this rural eastern Connecticut town.
Culminating two years of work by a group of community volunteers, the exhibit explores little known aspects of Lebanon’s past. Newspaper accounts, town and federal records, diaries and letters, and surviving artifacts reveal much about people and their stories. All are woven into an exhibit that traces Lebanon from its participation in the abolition movement to Lincoln’s assassination.
"Emancipation!” through January 20, 2014. An exhibition commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. The Amistad Center for Art & Culture, 600 Main Street, Hartford. amistadartandculture.org
"Within these Walls: One House, One Family, Two Centuries," a permanent exhibit depicting the story of the Middlesex County Historical Society's headquarters at the General Joseph Mansfield House, a brick, five bay Federal home that has stood at 151 Main Street since 1817, and the family who lived there. The Middlesex County Historical Society, 151 Main St, Middletown. (860) 346-0746 www.middlesexhistory.org
"Hard & Stirring Times: Middletown & the Civil War," a permanent exhibition exploring the Civil War at home and on the battlefield. The Middlesex County Historical Society, 151 Main St, Middletown. (860) 346-0746 www.middlesexhistory.org
As part of its commemoration of the Civil War Sesquicentennial and coinciding with events marking the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Shiloh, the National Park Service has launched a new Web site, www.nps.gov/civilwar. The site provides an overview of the war, with special emphasis on National Park Service sites. You’ll also find a wide range of richly-illustrated content, including stories of the Civil War, ranging from causes of the conflict to its consequences; biographies of notable individuals associated with the war, both military and civilian; places within the National Park System that interpret the Civil War; and information on the ways in which the National Park Service preserves Civil War battlefields, objects, landscapes and other historic resources. New content will be added regularly, so visitors are encouraged to check back to the site often.
“Stamford’s Civil War On-line Exhibition,” www.stamfordhistory.org/cw_intro.htm . Based on a 2003 exhibition, about the impact of the Civil War on their town. Visit the website to find regimental histories, maps, essays about how the war changed funeral customs, and the Stamford Ladies Soldiers’ Aid Society, among other topics.
“Heroes of the Home Front: Life North of the Battlefield” an on-line exhibition organized by The Barnum Museum and launching in April 2011. To view the exhibition visit www.barnum-museum.org
Dr. Matthew Warshauer’s new book, Connecticut in the American Civil War: Slavery, Sacrifice, and Survival, delves deeper than previous accounts into Connecticut’s contribution to the war. Warshauer considers the complexities of the state’s past that we, today, have lost sight of (Did you know, for example, that William Lloyd Garrison called the Connecticut the “Georgia of New England” and that multiple historians have referred to Connecticut as “the most inhospitable” to abolition in comparison to her sister states?) Visit http://www.upne.com/0-8195-7138-5.html to learn more about the events or to purchase Warshauer’s book. Use discount code W301 to save 30%.
Warshauer noted that “Because Connecticut was such a quintessential northern state, and because it was, especially in regard to arms and munitions, instrumental to the Union's survival, it seems particularly fitting that we mark the start of the war with a series of academic history, public history, social studies, and humanities initiatives.”
Connecticut Yankees at Antietam
Journalist and Civil War blogger (john-banks.blogspot.com) John Banks chronicles the stories of some of the 200 Connecticans who fought at the Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862, the single bloodiest day of the Civil War. He learned their stories through interviews with descendants who shared diaries and letters; he also drew information from pension records and other sources at the Connecticut State Library and Connecticut Historical Society. Connecticut Yankees at Antietam (History Press, 2013). $19.99; available at area bookstores or at historypress.net.
“Connecticut Genealogy News,” profiles the 36 Connecticut residents awarded the Medal of Honor for service in the Civil war. The quarterly news magazine is available to members and to subscribing libraries and organizations. For more information call (860) 569-0002 or visit www.csginc.org.
Connecticut History’s special Civil War Issue. Included in the issue are a variety of intriguing articles that offer new insights into the state’s struggle for Union. For more information about this issue and about the Association for the Study of Connecticut History, an organization devoted to recording and presenting Connecticut’s unique history on a scholarly level, visit http://ash.ccsu.edu
Strong in their Devotion: Stories of Connecticut's Irish in the Civil War, Connecticut Irish-American Historical Society at the Ethnic Heritage Center. www.southernct.edu/ethnic_heritage_center, (203) 392-6126
CT Explored Publisher Appointed to Commemoration Commission In September 2010 by Executive Order No. 44A, Governor M. Jodi Rell established the Connecticut Civil War Commemoration Commission and among distinguished academics and historians, Connecticut Explored publisher Elizabeth J. Normen was appointed to serve on the Commission. The Commission is chaired by Dr. Matthew Warshauer and Dr. Booker DeVaughn. Warshauer is professor of History at Central Connecticut State University and DeVaughn is President Emeritus of Three Rivers Community College.
The Commission is charged with leading efforts to commemorate the many ways in which Connecticut’s participation in the Civil War was instrumental to the war effort. The Executive Order notes that, throughout the four-year battle, one-tenth of the state’s population served as soldiers—that is, 54,000 men representing 47 percent of men aged 15 to 50. It further states, “It is important for Connecticut residents to better understand the Civil War’s legacies as they relate to issues of service, sacrifice, and slavery.”