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Highlights Archives

New 'Wisconsin in the Civil War' Collection

Photograph of a monochrome painting of "Old Abe," the bald eagle mascot of the Eighth Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, and his regimental color guard
WHI 78934

The Wisconsin Historical Society has launched a new section of its website, Wisconsin in the Civil War, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the war. It contains more than 16,000 pages of eyewitness accounts from historical documents, most of which have never been seen online before. The site also offers 44 biographies of Wisconsin Civil War leaders, 73 histories of regiments, 34 summaries of battles in which Wisconsin troops fought, and 68 compelling stories excerpted from the original documents.

Designed for Everyone

The site was created after consultation with local historians, scholars, genealogists, librarians, re-enactors and teachers. It is intended for everyone from 10-year-olds learning about the war for the first time to veteran re-enactors or doctoral candidates who have studied it for years.

Newly created indexes open up Wisconsin Civil War records as never before. One enables local residents to learn where soldiers from their town served (665 towns are indexed). Another leads genealogists to original documents about more than 35,000 specific individuals. A third delivers one fact a day — "Today in Wisconsin Civil War History" — to the home page.

Eyewitness Accounts by Wisconsin Soldiers

Users can view 1,000 images, 2,500 newspaper articles, 10,000 letters sent home from the front, a handful of original diaries, 250 battle maps, and dozens of memoirs and regimental histories. All of these primary sources are indexed by topic, date, location, regiment and personal name. Very little information is included about life on the homefront during the war.

More to Come Throughout 2011

New documents will be added weekly through 2011. Recognizing that none of us is as smart as all of us, project staff urge users to suggest new material and point out corrections through the feedback link on every page.

Five Society professional staff and 19 part-time students, interns and volunteers worked on the project over the last 18 months. It was funded primarily with support from the Wisconsin Historical Foundation and revenue earned by the Society's genealogical research service and image sales program. No outside grants or donations were solicited.

:: Posted April 11, 2011

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