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Commemorating the American Civil War Through Online Access to Original Source Materials
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Commemorating the American Civil War Through Online Access to Original Source Materials

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We are in the middle of the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War (1861-1865). Many institutions holding original materials from that time period are presenting those materials for the first time ...

We are in the middle of the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War (1861-1865). Many institutions holding original materials from that time period are presenting those materials for the first time on the Internet for use by researchers, including professors, graduate and undergraduate students, high school teachers, and History Day students. Otto will "show off" what the UW-River Falls Archives has done to provide better access to their materials. She will also talk about what materials their site has available, how it works, and how you as researchers and teachers can make use of them.

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    Commemorating the American Civil War Through Online Access to Original Source Materials Commemorating the American Civil War Through Online Access to Original Source Materials Presentation Transcript

    • K Kathryn Otto Head of University Archives and Area Research Center University of Wisconsin-River Falls
    • UWRF is publishing a blog about the Civil War and its impact on the St. CroixValley, specifically Northwest Wisconsin, butalso Minnesota along the rivers
    •  This blog presents the stories of the American Civil War as it affected the inhabitants of Northwest Wisconsin and the St. Croix Valley, either directly or indirectly.  Here are stories of the men and women, the soldiers and civilians, who experienced the Civil War.  These stories are both local and national.  The postings follow the War chronologically from beginning to end.  Told through their letters, diaries, and newspaper articles, and presented when the source material was created rather than when the event took place.
    •  This blog brings together in one place:  Letters and other archival materials of actual soldiers—posted on the date they were written.  Newspaper articles, both local War news and national War news. These local newspapers were weekly, so articles are posted throughout the week of publication.  Illustrations from period publications in our collections.  Library of Congress photographs when we don’t have anything appropriate.  On rare occasions photographs or images from elsewhere.  Always cited and linked back.
    •  The audience is: 1. UWRF and other college and university students. 2. High school—and especially History Day students. 3. Civil War “buffs.” 4. Anyone who finds this material interesting.  We have followers from places mentioned in the letters, who have gotten hooked!  Given that the primary audience is students, we do a lot of explanatory footnotes, and linking between posts.
    •  The audience is: 1. UWRF and other college and university students. 2. High school—and especially History Day students. 3. Civil War “buffs.” 4. Anyone who finds this material interesting.  We have followers from places mentioned in the letters, who have gotten hooked!  Given that the primary audience is students, we do a lot of explanatory footnotes, and linking between posts.
    • Whowere the soldiers? • We’re compiling lists of soldiers who lived in the area when they enlisted and other lists of those who moved here afterwards • Very much a work-in- progress!
    • The Soldiers • Work in progress!
    • The Soldiers – lists by company, or thosecompanies comprised mainly of soldiers from this "area" • Just starting to compile lists by county and by place • Easy, but time- consuming • Could use some volunteers to help!
    • • We have put together their service information, obituary, etc. • And, people submit information The Soldiers – information on individual soldiers
    • • Jerry Flint’s page The Soldiers – informationon individual soldiers
    • Local newspapersprovided local war–related news
    • Local newspapersprovided local war–related news
    • Local newspapersprovided local recruiting news • The Hudson North Star • The Polk County Press • The Prescott Journal • The Prescott Transcript
    • Local newspapersprovided local recruiting news Info on soldiers and those who “staid” behind Frequent footnotes on local “boys”
    • Local newspapers also provided national news
    • Local newspapersalso provided national news The Battle of Shiloh, often called Pittsburg Landing at the time April 6-7
    • Local newspapersprovided national news Including how Wisconsin’s “boys” were involved in the fighting April 6-7
    • Local newspapersprovided national news Including news from Minnesota
    • Do you know who T.S.C. Lowe was? Frequently list resources in the UWRF Library and/or Archives Often, the newsof yesteryear requires footnotes fortoday’s audience!
    • Despiteall, theydidn’t lose their humor! • John Dale, former speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly, chasing a deserter • Very rare to see illustrations in local newspapers at this time
    • Local newspapers published letters by soldiers • Some wrote as “correspondents” for the local paper • Some letters were shared by their families and friends
    • Letters by soldiers – Jerry Flint • Jerry Flint, and his brother Phineas, were from River Falls • Jerry joined the Hudson City Guards, which became Company G of the 4th Wisconsin Infantry • Eventually promoted to 1st lieutenant of Company G
    • Letters by soldiers — Frank Harding • Frank Harding , from Hudson, also joined the 4th Wisconsin • Harding’s 1863 discharge paper notes that he was “25 years of age, five feet six inches high, light complexion, gray eyes, black hair, and by occupation, when enrolled, a clerk” • In 1863 promoted to captain of Company C , 99th U.S. Colored Troops – starts a diary • After the War wrote 2 books
    • Letters by soldiers – the Levings Brothers • Edwin and his younger brother Homer, from Prescott • Edwin was a prolific letter writer, and opinionated too! Homer was a scrounger
    • Transcription challenges! • Cursive! • Bad hand-writing • Ink blotches • Crossed-out words • Old-fashioned spellings • Using every inch of the paper
    • Common themes in letters: Everyday life, • Picket duty • What they eat • What clothing is provided – what clothing they buy • Sending money home • When do we get paid next? food, clothing, pay!
    • Common themes in letters: Illnessand death • Small pox • Erysipelas • Typhoid Fever • Measles/mumps • Pneumonia • Ague (fever) • Severe cold/sore throat
    • • Soldier-speak for secessionists • Stealing food, etc., from the locals • What the towns are like and the land Common themes in letters: The locals and the “secesh”
    • Common themes in letters: Theywanted news from home
    • • Most of these soldiers have never seen a Black person • Many of them have abolitionist leanings • They don’t have much of anything good to say about the slaves – and use all of the worst words Common themes in letters: Slavery
    • • Constitution, by-laws, minutes, election of officers of the River Falls Rifles (militia company) Othertypesof material you will seeon the blog
    • Othertypesof material • A. D. Andrews was an assistant surgeon in the 6th Wisconsin Infantry (the Iron Brigade) • Became mayor of River Falls after the Civil War
    • Othertypesof material • Black-and-white illustrations from Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War
    • Othertypesof material • Color illustrations from Battles of the Civil War: The Complete Kurz & Allison Prints, 1861-1865
    • Othertypesof material • Maps from Atlas to Accompany the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies
    • Othertypesof material • Photographs from Original Photographs Taken on the Battlefields During the Civil War of the United States, by Mathew B. Brady and Alexander Gardner
    • Othertypes of material Occasionally, a letter will have something with it, in this case a map (from Ed Levings, May 26, 1862)
    • The Blog:  www.uwrf.edu/archives then “Civil War Blog” link on gray navigation bar  thecivilwarandnorthwestwisconsin.wordpress.com  Sign up to get an e- mail every time we post something  Sign up for RSS feed  Follow us on Twitter  Follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/UWRF-University-Archives-Area- Research-Center/154148371284281
    •  University Archives and Area Research Center:  E-mail: archives@uwrf.edu  Phone: 715-425-3567  Visit us: 170 Chalmer Davee Library (lower level)  Monday-Friday 10:00–4:30  2nd Saturday of every month 10:00–4:30, Introduction to the Archives class at 9:15