On July 1, 1878, the United States War Department hired Marcus J. Wright (1831-1922) a former Confederate brigadier general from Tennessee, as an agent to help collect records relating to the Civil War. Wright sent a copy of the circular announcing the appointment to his former commander-in-chief, Jefferson Davis, who responded with this letter on July 18, 1878.
The most popular subjects of sketches by Civil War soldiers were their camps – no doubt a product of the amount of time they spent in those camps. Highlighted here are two such sketches from the Museum’s collections: a simple pencil and ink sketch of a simple camp at Neil’s Dam, Virginia, 1861, by Pvt. Kennedy Palmer of Company H, 13th Virginia Infantry, and a more elaborate sketch of the more elaborate winter quarters of an artillery battalion in Albemarle County, Virginia, 1863-1864.
Prompted by Germany’s declaration of unrestricted submarine warfare, the United States entered “the Great War” on the side of the Allies in April 1917. While the U.S. government worried about the loyalty of millions of German-Americans, other “hyphenated Americans” went out of their way to demonstrate their support of the American war effort.
“Time heals all wounds and banishes all differences to naught. But the memory of men and deeds – men who gave their lives in deeds for a cause in which they honestly believed – goes on into indefinite generations.”
One hundred and fifty years ago this month, an estimated 300,000 southerners, white and black, faced the real prospect of famine. The immediate cause of the crisis was not the effects of civil war and emancipation, but drought and crop failure during the 1866 growing season. The Federal government, through the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands – the “Freedmen’s Bureau” – budgeted $500,000 in aid, and private organizations mobilized throughout the United States to raise and distribute money, food, and clothing.