Use the smaller-sized text Use the larger-sized text Use the very large text

The Civil War Home Front

The Civil War had a profound effect on nearly all aspects of life in Wisconsin. All residents, regardless of whether they became a part of the Union effort, felt the repercussions of war. After the financial shock of early 1861 resulting from the secession of the Southern states, the Civil War brought economic prosperity to Wisconsin. The war helped to consolidate transportation and industrial activity by increasing the volume of eastward-moving trade, especially when the closing of the lower Mississippi River restricted access to New Orleans. Railroads were overwhelmed with business, sending transportation costs through the roof. With the departure... more...

Original Documents and Other Primary Sources

Link to article: Women try to raise funds to improve soldiers' medical conditions, 1863.  Women try to raise funds to improve soldiers' medical conditions, 1863.
Link to article: Ozaukee County residents riot to resist the Civil War draft in 1862  Ozaukee County residents riot to resist the Civil War draft in 1862
Link to article: Girlhood and motherhood on the Wisconsin frontier, 1824-1860.  Girlhood and motherhood on the Wisconsin frontier, 1824-1860.
Link to article: An Immigrant Who Became a Northwoods Missionary  An Immigrant Who Became a Northwoods Missionary
Link to article: Henry Dodge brought his slaves to Wisconsin  Henry Dodge brought his slaves to Wisconsin
Link to article: A Waukesha editor recalls the underground railroad  A Waukesha editor recalls the underground railroad
Link to article: More than 200 Wis. newspaper stories about the war  More than 200 Wis. newspaper stories about the war
Link to book: Wisconsin women tell their stories of life on the Civil War home front.  Wisconsin women tell their stories of life on the Civil War home front.
Link to book: Roster of Wisconsin Civil War Soldiers, vol. I  Roster of Wisconsin Civil War Soldiers, vol. I
Link to images: Photograph of attorney Byron Paine, ca. 1860  Photograph of attorney Byron Paine, ca. 1860
Link to images: Civil War Recruitment Broadside, 1861  Civil War Recruitment Broadside, 1861
Link to manuscript: Letters by relatives of Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1861-1919  Letters by relatives of Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1861-1919
Link to manuscript: Ma Ingalls describes family life in 1861  Ma Ingalls describes family life in 1861
Link to manuscript: A Rock Co. soldier writes home, 1862-1865  A Rock Co. soldier writes home, 1862-1865
Link to manuscript: Emilie Quiner's diary of Wisconsin during the Civil War, 1861-1863  Emilie Quiner's diary of Wisconsin during the Civil War, 1861-1863
Link to manuscript: Daily life for a working class woman in Onalaska, 1864  Daily life for a working class woman in Onalaska, 1864

Primary Sources Available Elsewhere

Link to book: Wisconsin Blue Books  Wisconsin Blue Books
Link to collections: Biographical sketches and writings of some Wisconsin pioneer women  Biographical sketches and writings of some Wisconsin pioneer women
Link to collections: Manuscripts from Wisconsin soldiers and citizens during the Civil War  Manuscripts from Wisconsin soldiers and citizens during the Civil War
Link to collections: An online exhibit from the Wisconsin Veterans Museum  An online exhibit from the Wisconsin Veterans Museum
Link to images: Governor Lewis announces the founding of a Soldiers' Home, 1865  Governor Lewis announces the founding of a Soldiers' Home, 1865
Link to manuscript: A former slave recounts his time in Wisconsin  A former slave recounts his time in Wisconsin
Link to manuscript: An ex-slave woman visits Watertown after the war  An ex-slave woman visits Watertown after the war
Link to manuscript: Letters from the Ladies Union League, 1862-1864  Letters from the Ladies Union League, 1862-1864

Related Links

Discover classroom resources available from our Office of School Services
Search our catalogs for materials on this topic that aren't yet available online.
Borrow books about this topic through our interlibrary loan service
Borrow manuscripts about this topic through our Area Research Center network.
Visit the Wisconsin Veterans Museum
Learn about other topics from our new book, Wisconsin History Highlights

  • Questions about this page? Email us
  • Email this page to a friend
select text size Use the smaller-sized textUse the larger-sized textUse the very large text