Tag Archive | American Civil War

Object: Newspaper

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Newspaper article
“Confederate Soldier Walter W. Williams Dies in Houston, Funeral Held Wednesday” The Franklin Texan
Franklin, Texas
Materials: Paper/Ink

This is the December, 1959 edition of the Franklin Texan. In this issue, the story concerns the death of Walter Williams, a man who claimed to be a former confederate soldier and the last veteran of the Civil War. Texas seceded in 1861, alongside other southern states to form the Confederacy. The Civil War experience for Texas, was different from other states.

Despite the obvious threat of the Union army, there were other threats that were more serious in the minds of many Texans. With the withdrawal of Union troops at the start of the conflict, Texans were concerned that the immediate threat to Texas was from Native American raids. Texan and Native American relations had been complex in Texas, and at the time of the Civil War they had been very strained. Sam Houston, who was the first president of Texas, tried to build better relations. He attempted to enforce trade laws, remove trespassers from native land, uphold hunting rights, and establish fairer treaties. However, successive presidents would reverse these programs. Due to this strain between Texans and Native Americans, conflict would persist throughout the Civil War.

Edmund Kirby Smith. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

In 1862, Texas would be placed into Trans-Mississippi Department. This was a group of Confederate states, west of the Mississippi river, that were placed under the command of Kirby Smith in 1863. This department was seen as necessary because of the massive distance between these states and the Confederate capital in Richmond. When the Mississippi was taken in 1863, the department would effectively be cut off from the rest of the Confederacy.

In 1863, the invasion of Texas was headed by Nathanial Banks. This invasion was made possible by the Union control of Vicksburg, securing the Mississippi river for the north. Texas was a strategic target for the Union for several reasons. Texas’ border with Mexico allowed them to get around the Union blockade of Confederate ports. Cotton was transported across the border, and shipped to Europe, and supplies and guns were shipped back through the same route. The Union couldn’t blockade Mexico, so they would have to invade to stop the shipments. Another reason also had to do with Mexico. After the start of the Civil War, France invaded Mexico to place a friendly government on the throne. The Union saw this as a threat, and wanted to show force in the region. If Texas and other confederate states could continue to sell its cotton and buy goods, there was a risk that European powers would get involved in the conflict.

In 1865, the last battle of the Civil war would be fought in Texas. The Battle of Palmito Hill would mark the end of resistance in Texas and the remaining confederate states. Next would come reconstruction, and the emergence of a new Texas. [Ryan Farrell, edited by Kathryn S. McCloud]

Additional Resources:

Bailey, Anne. Between the Enemy and Texas: Parsons’s Texas Cavalry in the Civil War. Fort Worth: TCU Press, 2013.

Gallaway, B. P., and Inc NetLibrary. Texas, the Dark Corner of the Confederacy: Contemporary Accounts of the Lone Star State in the Civil War. 3rd ed. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. 1994.

Grear, Charles D. The Fate of Texas: The Civil War and the Lone Star State. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2008.

Henderson, Colonel H. M. C. Texas in the Confederacy. Pickle Partners Publishing, 2015.

Howell, Kenneth W. The Seventh Star of the Confederacy: Texas During the Civil War. Denton, Tex: University of North Texas Press, 2011.

Jewett, Clayton E., and Inc NetLibrary. Texas in the Confederacy: An Experiment in Nation Building. Columbia: University of Missouri Press. 2002.

Jewett, Clayton E. On its Own: Texas in the Confederacy. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing. 1998.

Townsend, Stephen A. The Yankee Invasion of Texas. Vol. no. 8. College Station: Texas A&M University Press. 2006.


Object: Safe


Alamo Safe and Lock Co.
San Antonio, TX
19th Century
Materials: Metal/Paint

This object is a heavy metal safe, manufactured by Alamo Safe and Lock Co. in the late 19th- early 20th century.  It was owned by John Lincoln Clem- an army officer who served in the Civil War.

Sgt. Johnny Clem / Schwing & Rudd, photographers, Army of the Cumberland. Image via Library of Congress.

Sgt. Johnny Clem / Schwing & Rudd, photographers, Army of the Cumberland. Image via Library of Congress.

Clem was born in Newark, Ohio in 1851, with the name John Joseph Klem.  When he was young, he changed his middle name to Lincoln because of his deep admiration for President Abraham Lincoln.  He also changed the spelling of his last name from “Klem,” to “Clem.”  When he was nine, his mother died,  and he ran away from home to join the Union army.  Although the 3rd regiment out of Ohio wouldn’t accept him because of his age, a year later, the 22nd Infantry Regiment in Michigan let him follow them, adopting him as their unofficial drummer boy and mascot.

He was allowed to officially enlist in 1863, at the age of twelve.  Clem, carrying a musket that had been sawed down for him to handle better, became famous after the Battle of Chickamauga.   During the battle, he became separated from his group, and was ordered to stop and surrender by a Confederate Colonel.  Rather than surrendering, Clem swung around with his musket and fired, shooting the Colonel.  He returned safely to Union lines.

As a result of his heroism, he became known as the “Drummer Boy of Chickamauga,” and was promoted to sergeant- the youngest soldier ever to become a non-commissioned officer in the U.S. Army.   A month later, he was captured by Confederate soldiers in Georgia and used as a propaganda tactic by the South, who stated “when they have to send their babies out to fight us.”  He was soon released in a prisoner exchange with the North.

In 1864, after fighting in several more battles, Johnny Clem was discharged from the army, and returned home to finish school.  He graduated high school in 1870 and tried to enlist in West Point.  After failing the entrance exam several times, President Ulysses S. Grant appointed him as 2nd lieutenant in the U.S. Army.  In 1875, Clem completed artillery school in Virginia, and then transferred to the Quartermaster Department, where he was eventually promoted to captain.  Near the end of his career, John Clem was the chief quartermaster at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio (1906-1911).

By the time he retired in 1915, he was 64 years old, had risen to the rank of brigadier general and actively served in the military for 45 years.  After retirement, he was promoted to major general.  He was officially the last Civil War veteran to actively serve in the United States Army.  Clem died in San Antonio in 1937, and was taken to Arlington National Cemetery to be buried.

John Clem lived a life of bravery and adventure.  His story has inspired many over the years. The song “The Ballad of Johnny Shiloh,”  written by Andrew Landers, commemorates him, and there has been speculation that the popular Civil War song “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” was inspired by Clem.  Even Walt Disney produced a film in 1963- exactly one hundred years after Clem enlisted- called “Johnny Shiloh,” based on Clem’s time as a young drummer boy in the Union army.  John Lincoln Clem was a larger than life, true American patriot and legend. [Carrie Klein, edited by Kathryn S. McCloud]

Additional Resources:

Abbott, E.F., Steven Noble.  John Lincoln Clem: Civil War Drummer Boy.  New York: Feiwel and Friends, 2016.

Kendall, Sandra A., Gilson L. Kendall.  Drummer Boys of the Civil War.  Gettysburg, PA: Thomas Publications, 1998.

Rhodes, James A., Dean Jauchius.  Johnny Shiloh: A Novel of the Civil War.  Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1959.

Wisler, G. Clifton.  When Johnny Went Marching: Young Americans Fight the Civil War.  New York, NY: Harper Collins, 2001.

Object: Lamp

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Hanging lamp
Materials: Metal, & glass

This object is a hanging lamp made by Bradley and Hubbard Manufacturing Company. Bradley and Hubbard Manufacturing Company made many different types of lamps, some of them, like this one, had a detachable shade, which had a wire connected to it. The company was in business between the years 1852-1940. The company also manufactured bookends, matchbox holders, chandeliers, candlesticks and other metal household accessories. This lamp could be placed on a table and then moved to a hanging position when the owner needed it.

The Bradley and Hubbard Manufacturing Company factory complex, ca1880. via http://www.si.edu/ahhp/bradley_hubbard

The Bradley and Hubbard Manufacturing Company factory complex, ca1880. via http://www.si.edu/ahhp/bradley_hubbard

The Bradley and Hubbard Manufacturing Company was originally named Bradley, Hatch and Company, until the Hatch brothers sold their piece of the company. The company started by manufacturing clocks up until the Civil War. At this time in history, metal companies started to expand and flourish because the country was expanding west of the Mississippi River. During this time Bradley and Hubbard expanded their company’s production line to include match safes for keeping matches dry, call bells for businesses with a reception desk, andirons for fireplaces, urns, and a variety of other items. The company was able to expand so much by keeping their prices lower than the competition, while maintaining the quality of their products.

When Colonel Edwin Drake discovered oil in Titusville, Pennsylvania in 1859, one of the partners of Bradley and Hubbard Manufacturing Company, Nathaniel Bradley, saw an opportunity to expand their company’s production line to include kerosene lamps, like this hanging lamp. Once the kerosene business started to boom the company started to specialize in kerosene lamps, each lamp had a ‘B&H’ stamped on its base. Between the spring of 1868 and the winter of 1913 the company created 89 patents, which means they discovered new designs of lamps and had the right to legally exclude anyone from using the designs, similar to a copyright or license. The designs of lamps and chandeliers were the designs of Bradley and Hubbard.i-0026i-6

One of the patents was a design for a type of chandelier that could be lowered and raised. This chandelier was advertised in 1875 in the Crockery and Glass JournalFinding success in these chandeliers, they sold, them to churches, and banquet halls. Keeping up with the changing times, the company started to manufacture electric lamps and chandeliers when those became popular. Their products were in demand all around the country, and they are still valued today.  [Amanda Rock, edited by Joscelynn Garcia]

Additional Resources:

Wenrich, Jeanne. 1989. Bradley and Hubbard Manufacturing Company.

American Petroleum Institute. 1954. The story of Colonel Drake. New York, N.Y.: American Petroleum Institute.

Carey, Charles W. 2002. American inventors, entrepreneurs, and business visionaries. New York: Facts on File.

Cooke, Lawrence S. 1976. Lighting in America: from colonial rushlights to Victorian chandeliers. New York: Main Street/Universe Books.

Object: Photographic Print

I-0014c (2)

Photographic Print
19th Century

This object is a photographic print of Richard Allen (1830-1901) a political leader in Texas. Richard Allen was born a slave in Richmond, Virginia on June 10, 1830. He was brought to Harris County in Texas, where he was owned until emancipation in 1865. While a slave he became skilled in carpentry and designed the mansion of Houston mayor Joseph R. Morris.

Depiction of a bureau agent standing between armed groups of whites and freedmen.

Depiction of a bureau agent standing between armed groups of whites and freedmen. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

After emancipation Richard Allen became a contractor and bridge builder. The first bridge to be built over Buffalo Bayou is said to have been Allen’s work. Allen first entered the political scene when he became a voter registrar, in charge of distributing and accepting voter registrations. He later became an agent for the Freedmen’s Bureau. The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands or more popularly known as the Freedmen’s Bureau was established by the War Department in 1865 after the end of the American Civil War. The Freedmen’s Bureau was created to help former black slaves and poor whites in the American south. After the war many communities were left in ruins. The Bureau provided food, housing, medical aid, established schools, and offered legal assistance. The people who worked for the Freedmen’s Bureau were essentially social workers. Each district would send out assistant agents to communities in the south. However, once there they were exposed to ridicule and violence from whites which included terror organizations like the Ku Klux Klan.

The Ku Klux Klan or KKK for short was an organization founded in 1866 and in almost every southern state. The group largely rejected President Andrew Johnson’s reconstruction policies. The group ran a campaign of violence against Republicans, both black and white, hoping to reverse reconstruction and return to white supremacy in the South. 10% of black legislators who were elected during the 1867-1868 constitutional conventions were victims of violence from the KKK and some lost their lives. Due to the violence being spewed toward blacks, a movement to leave the south and head west toward Kansas became a popular.

Benjamin "Pap" Singleton

Benjamin “Pap” Singleton. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

The movement was led by a man named Benjamin “Pap” Singleton, and the goal was to find a better life somewhere other than the south. Singleton was born a slave near Nashville, Tennessee. He was skilled in carpentry but never learned how to read or write. After attempting to escape from slavery several times he was finally successful in 1846 and headed north to Detroit using the Underground Railroad. Singleton witnessed the inequality that freedmen were facing and realized they would never get equality in the south. In 1874 Singleton founded a real estate company in the hopes of helping African Americans get land in Tennessee. This failed as many white land owners refused to bargain and sold the land for high prices. Singleton then turned his eye to Kansas, and after a few setbacks, the first wave of exodusters migrated to Kansas in 1879.

As for Richard Allen, after he led the short lived exodus movement he served as a delegate for the National Colored Men’s Convention. He also served as chairmen for black state conventions where African Americans voiced their concerns about civil rights, education, and economic issues. He became Grand Master of the Prince Hall Masons once they organized in Texas. Richard Allen passed away on May 16, 1909. [Joscelynn Garcia]

Additional Sources:

Athearn, Robert G. In Search of Canaan: Black Migration to Kansas, 1879-80. Lawrence: Regents Press of Kansas, 1978.

Cimbala, Paul A., and Randall M. Miller. The Freedmen’s Bureau and Reconstruction. New York: Fordham University Press, 1999. <http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&scope=site&db=nlebk&db=nlabk&AN=16387>.

Crouch, Barry A. The Freedmen’s Bureau and Black Texans. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1992.

Muraskin, William A. Middle-Class Blacks in a White Society: Prince Hall Freemasonry in America. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975.

Object: Plaque

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San Antonio
Materials: Metal

These objects are two plaques that were located at the Bexar county courthouse in downtown San Antonio. The plaques were installed in 1936 and commissioned by The American Legion and the Texas division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The plaques were erected in honor of the Jefferson Davis Memorial Highway and were dedicated to the soldiers of the Confederacy. The Jefferson Davis Memorial Highway was part of large project pioneered by the National Highway Association.  Starting in 1916 and finished in 1920, the goal was to have a highway that would link Miami to Los Angeles.

The plaques were commissioned by the American Legion, a patriotic veteran’s organization established in 1919, dedicated “to the soldiers of the Confederacy and the daughters of the Confederacy.” The Legion has a long history of supporting pro-veteran legislation including the GI Bill. The plaques were also sponsored by the Texas division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, which was originally founded in Nashville, Tennessee. The United Daughters of the Confederacy became one of the driving forces behind many Confederate memorials and monuments, often in collaboration with other organizations like the Sons of the Confederate Veterans and the American Legion.

Bexar County Court House

Bexar County Court House. Image via Bexar County.

However, these plaques were removed on July 21, 2015. The effort to remove the plaques was part of a larger nation-wide movement to remove monuments honoring the Confederacy. This movement gained momentum following a mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina. The shooting took place in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, one of the oldest black churches in the United States and an important site for meetings during the Civil Rights Movement.

The shooting was labeled a hate crime after police learned the shooter yelled racial slurs while shooting the victims. It was later discovered that the shooter had posted images and a personal manifesto online which contained racist statements, and included the Confederate flag. The FBI defines a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.” As a result of the shooting 9 people lost their lives, all of whom were African American.

Anti Confederate Heritage Rally Washington DC, September 5, 2015. Counter rally held in protest of the Confederate Heritage Rally at the US Capitol. US Capitol Police kept the groups separated. Image by  Susan Melkisethian, via Flickr.

Anti Confederate Heritage Rally
Washington DC, September 5, 2015. Counter rally held in protest of the Confederate Heritage Rally at the US Capitol. US Capitol Police kept the groups separated.
Image by Susan Melkisethian, via Flickr.

The shooting in Charleston prompted many people to protest the Confederate flag, as a symbol of hate, and called its removal from public spaces. In some locations protestors tried to remove the flag themselves and some were arrested. On June 22 the governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley called for the removal of the flag. The flag was officially removed in July after long hours of deliberations. Governors from Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina also sought to get rid of  Confederate flag license plates in their states.

As Confederate flags came down from public spaces around the country, retailers like Walmart, Target, and Amazon stopped the sale of Confederate flag items. In San Antonio a call to inventory Confederate symbols around the city uncovered 9. The Bexar Country Commissioners Court deliberated for hours and finally came to the conclusion to take down the symbols. Judge Nelson Wolf stated, “We are simply not going to glorify a symbol which to many people, not all, but to many people has become a symbol of fear and a symbol of hate.” The plaques were donated to the Institute of Texan Cultures after the Commissioners Court directed that the plaques be placed “in an educational or museum setting where they can be interpreted in a balanced way.” [Tanner Norwood, edited by Joscelynn Garcia]

Additional Resources:

Hague E., and Sebesta E.H. 2011. “The Jefferson Davis Highway: Contesting the Confederacy in the Pacific Northwest.” Journal of American Studies 45 (2): 281-301.

Hattaway, Herman, and Richard E. Beringer. Jefferson Davis, Confederate President. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2002.

Horton, James Oliver, and Lois E. Horton. Slavery and Public History: The Tough Stuff of American Memory. New York: New Press, 2006.

Moley, Raymond. 1966. The American Legion Story. New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce.

Prince, K. Michael. Rally ’round the Flag, Boys!: South Carolina and the Confederate Flag. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2004.

Object: Model Gun


I-0402 a
Wooden gun model
Italian American Texas 1901-1957
Materials: Wood

This wooden gun was used by the Italian sculptor Pompeo Luigi Coppini as a model for one of his sculptures. Although Coppini would later become one of the most revered sculptors in Texas, it took him a while to make his way here. Born in 1870 in Moglia, Mantua, Italy, Coppini spent the majority of his time in Florence, Italy. While in Florence he studied under Augusto Rivalta at the Academia di Belle Arti until he graduated with honors in 1889. He would stay under the guidance of Rivalta until 1896 when he immigrated to the US where he met his wife, Elizabeth Di Barbieri .

Pompeo Coppini, image via Wikimedia Commons.

In 1901 Coppini moved to Texas to help the German sculptor Frank Teich fulfill a new order for Confederate memorials. While working under Teich, Coppini was put in charge of making a monument to Jefferson Davis with four Confederate soldiers on the Texas capitol grounds. His work was so impressive that he was able to generate his own commissions, often competing with his former boss Teich. The commissions kept rolling in, in 1903 alone he was commissioned to work on the statue of Rufus C. Burleson at the University of Baylor in Waco, TX, as well as busts of the Confederate Generals Johnston , Lee, Jackson  and Confederate President Jefferson Davis for a monument in Paris, TX. On top of all of those commissions, he also worked on a group of statues called the “Victims of the Galveston Flood” for the University of Texas. His work didn’t stop there, in 1905-1907 he worked on an equestrian monument of Terry’s Texas Rangers (the Eighth Texas Confederate Cavalry), which is also located on the Texas Capitol grounds. In 1910 he completed the bas relief for Sam Houston’s tombstone in Huntsville, TX, as well as finishing the Texas Revolutionary Monument  in Gonzales, TX.

Spirit of Sacrifice: Alamo Cenotaph. Image by Zygmunt Put Zetpe0202, via Wikimedia Commons.

These are just a few early examples of Coppini’s works, it would not be until the late 1920s-1930s that Coppini would produce two of his most influential and iconic pieces; The Littlefield Fountain Memorial on the grounds of the UT campus (1920-1928) and the “Spirit of Sacrifice: the Cenotaph to the Heroes of the Alamo” (1937-1939). The Littlefield fountain was one of the few sculptures that Coppini worked on outside of Texas. Moving from his studio in San Antonio in 1916 in order to cast the bronze for the Littlefield fountain. He would first move to Chicago for short period of time, then three years later to New York to oversee the casting of the fountain; its purpose was to symbolize the reunion of the North and South. He would later move back to San Antonio in 1937 to reopen his studio on 115 Melrose Place, to work on the “Spirit of Sacrifice.” The cenotaph is one of Coppini’s largest works, the base alone is 12 feet by 40 feet. The cenotaph is 60 feet tall and is covered in Coppini’s extraordinarily detailed bas relief figures; some of the figures, like William B. Travis, stand at least 25 feet tall.

In 1931, his home country of Italy awarded him the title of Commendatore of the crown of Italy for his works in America. In 1934, Centennial Commissions awarded him a commemorative half-dollar for the bronze statues in the Hall of States. In 1941 the University of Baylor gave Coppini an honorary doctorate degree in fine art. He would also be art director at Trinity University for a few years. He went on to found the Coppini Academy of Fine Arts in San Antonio, in 1945. Located in his old studio, Coppini would teach and sculpt here until his death in 1957. The school is still open today, and when it’s not hosting fine art classes, it serves as a museum of Coppini’s life and works. [Tanner Norwood, edited by Joscelynn Garcia]

Additional Resources

Brooks, Nick. Mouldmaking and Casting. Marlborough [UK]: Crowood, 2005. 

Coppini, Pompeo. 1949. From Dawn to Sunset. San Antonio: Press of the Naylor Co.

Kowal, Dennis., and Dona Z. Meilach. 1972. Sculpture Casting: Mold Techniques and Materials, Metals, Plastics, Concrete. Crown’s arts and crafts series; Crown’s arts and crafts series. New York: Crown Publishers.

Wright, John R. Pompeo Coppini and Corpus Christi’s First Experiment with Public Art. [Corpus Christi, Tex.?]: J.R. Wright, 1989.

Object: Painting


“Milton Holland and Medal Of Honor, 1864”
Bruce Marshall
20th Century
Materials: Paper, Paint


Typeset, signed, and framed copy (“Leland-Boker Authorized Edition”, printed in June 1864) of the Emancipation Proclamation on display at the Pennsylvania State University Special Collections Library. Image via Wikimedia Commons

During the American Civil War there was an estimated of 4 million slaves in the United States and 500,000 free African Americans. Though many African Americans wanted to serve in the army they simply were not allowed. It was not until 1863 when the Emancipation Proclamation was issued that they would be welcomed. This object is a painting entitled “Milton Holland and Medal of Honor, 1864” painted by Bruce Marshall.  Milton M. Holland was an African-American soldier who served during the Civil War.

When the war broke out people like Frederick Douglass believed that if African Americans fought in the war, the Union could win and it would be a step in the right direction for equal rights. However, President Lincoln worried that if African Americans were allowed to fight the border states would secede. By 1862 the number of white volunteers started dwindling and the war was nowhere near finished  Lincoln began to reconsider his decision about letting African Americans fight in the war. The first step was the creation of the Second Confiscation and Militia Act which was signed in 1862. This act allowed the president to “to employ as many persons of African descent as he may deem necessary and proper for the suppression of this rebellion…in such manner as he may judge best for the public welfare.”

Milton M. Holland

Milton M. Holland Image via Wikipedia

With this many African Americans began forming infantry units. The signing of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863 specifically called freed slaves to join the Union. The first black regiment to be raised in the North was the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment after a call was put by the Governor. It was this same year that Milton M. Holland joined the army. Holland was born in Austin, TX to a slave woman and Bird Holland, a white slave owner who later served as a solider in the Confederacy. In the 1850s his father purchased Milton’s freedom, along with his two brothers, and sent them to school in Ohio.  Holland worked as a shoemaker for the Union army quartermaster at the beginning of the war because he was too young to enlist.  Once able to join, he became part of the 5th United States Colored Troops.

Holland fought in the Battle of the Crater, during the Petersburg campaign and at Fort Fisher and rose to the rank of regimental sergeant major. After all the white commanding officers were either wounded or killed in action at Chaffin’s Farm and New Market Heights, in 1864, it was Holland who assumed command and led the troops in battle. While he was leading, Holland was wounded and this earned him the Congressional Medal of Honor. Holland was the first African-American from Texas to receive it. Holland was promoted to captain but the commission was refused by the War Department because of his race.

After the war Holland lived in Washington, D.C. He worked in the Auditor Department of the United States. Holland also opened the Alpha Insurance Company which was one of the first African-American owned insurance companies in D.C. Holland died in 1910 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. [Joscelynn Garcia]

Additional Sources:

Berlin, Ira, Joseph P. Reidy, and Leslie S. Rowland. Freedom’s Soldiers: The Black Military Experience in the Civil War. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

Reid, Richard M. Freedom for Themselves: North Carolina’s Black Soldiers in the Civil War Era. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008.

Smith, John David. Black Soldiers in Blue: African American Troops in the Civil War Era. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002.

Wilson, Keith P. Campfires of Freedom: The Camp Life of Black Soldiers During the Civil War. Kent [Ohio]: Kent State University Press, 2002.

Object: Print

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“Last Meeting of Gen. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson”
Kurz & Allison
19th Century
Materials: Paper, Ink, Glass, Wood

The Civil War resulted in the death of more than 600,000 soldiers and many more were injured. After the war ended many Americans wanted to commemorate the war with art, and people like Louis Kurz and Alexander Allison took advantage of this to sell Civil War chromolithographs of famous people or events from the ware. Many of the prints were inaccurate, but they were still popular.  Today they are one of the most sought after collectibles. This object is a print by Allison and Kurz depicting the last meeting between Gen. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.

The Kurz and Allison publishing company was based out of Chicago, Illinois. Louis Kurz was originally from Salzburg, Austria. Before running his publishing company in Chicago, he had worked as a lithographer in Milwaukee and Chicago. In 1880 he teamed up with Alexander Allison who provided the money to finance the new company known as Kurz and Allison. The image depicted in this print shows Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, meeting before the battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863. Everett B. D. Julio is credited with creating this image in 1869, but it was a popular subject at the time, depicted by many artists.

Robert E. Lee

Robert E. Lee Via: Wikimedia Commons

General Robert Edward Lee was born in Stratford Hall, Virginia and was the son of a Revolutionary War hero. A young Robert was able to get an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point and graduated second in his class in 1829. Lee did not see battle until 1846 during the war with Mexico. Before that, he served in the Corps of Engineers. Lee was then the superintendent of West Point and would be in charge of many young men who would later serve under him as well as against him during the Civil War. Lee left the Academy in 1855 and took a position in the cavalry and was ordered to put down the raid at Harpers Ferry. Lee had a reputation of being a fine officer so it was no surprise that President Lincoln offered him a position to lead the Federal forces. Lee declined and left the army when Virginia seceded, arguing that he could not fight against his own people.

His first battle of the Civil War took place in Cheat Mountain, Virginia and, although it was a Union victory, Lee’s reputation held up to public criticism. Lee became a military adviser for President Jefferson Davis and throughout the war had both losses and victories. One victory was at Chancellorsville which followed the meeting depicted in this print. However, following the Union victories of Gettysburg and Vicksburg Lee realized that the end of the Confederacy was only a matter of time. On April 9, 1865, Lee and his army surrendered at Appomattox Court House. Following the war Lee became the President of Washington College in Virginia, he passed away on October 12, 1870.

The other man shown in the print is Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson, he was born on January 21, 1824 and was a good friend of Robert E. Lee. Jackson graduated from West Point in 1846 was a second lieutenant in the Mexican-American War when he first met Lee. When the Civil War broke out Jackson became a Colonel of the Virginia militia and also commanded at Harper’s Ferry. It was after the battle of the First Manassas (aka Bull Run) where he earned the nickname “Stonewall.” With successful military maneuvers at battles including the Second Manassas and Sharpsburg he was eventually designated as Lieutenant General. Jackson was in command at the victory in Fredericksburg and in Chancellorsville.


Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson Image via: americancivilwar.com

Following the battle of Chancellorsville, Jackson was returning to his camp with some staff and they were mistaken for a Union Calvary by the Confederate troops.  They open fire and Jackson was hit by three bullets, two in the left arm and one in the right arm. Jackson was unable to get immediate medical attention as it was after dark and there was a great deal of confusion. As a result of his injuries Jackson’s left arm had to be amputated. He survived the amputation but had signs of pneumonia which were ignored. Jackson passed away from complications of pneumonia on May 10, 1863.

Both men continue to be studied by historians for their military tactics today. They are both commemorated with various monuments, parks, and schools named after them. [Joscelynn Garcia]

Additional Sources:

Logue, John, and Karen Phillips Irons. Battles of the Civil War: The Complete Kurz & Allison Prints, 1861-1865. New York: Fairfax Press, 1979.

Neely, Mark E., Harold Holzer, and G. S. Boritt. The Confederate Image: Prints of the Lost Cause. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1987.

Neely, Mark E., and Harold Holzer. The Union Image: Popular Prints of the Civil War North. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000.

Object: Painting


“Rosanna Osterman in Galveston, 1862”
Bruce Marshall
20th Century
Materials: Paint/Paper/Metal/Glass

This object is a framed original watercolor by Bruce Marshall entitled “Rosanna Osterman in Galveston, 1862.” Rosanna Osterman was a Jewish resident of Texas known for her work as a nurse during the Civil War. She was born in Germany in 1809 and moved to Maryland as a child. She married Amsterdam native Joseph Osterman, a silversmith and merchant who established a mercantile business in Galveston in 1838. Rosanna joined him in Galveston in 1839. When the town was overrun by a yellow fever epidemic in 1853, Rosanna operated a makeshift hospital on her family’s property to help care for the sick. As more epidemics swept through Galveston, evidence suggests she continued to volunteer as a nurse during these outbreaks. In 1862 the Civil War came to Galveston and the widow Rosanna again opened her home as a hospital, this time to both Union and Confederate soldiers. When citizens started to flee the city, she continued to care for the sick and injured. In addition to her nursing duties, Rosanna carried military information for the confederate army. In recognition of her nursing services, the 8th Texas Infantry regiment published a letter praising her in the Galveston News. She died in February of 1866 in a steamboat explosion aboard the W.R. Carter.

Dorothea Dix

Dorothea Dix Via: Wikimedia Commons

Many women wanted to help during the Civil War but were initially discouraged from contributing on both the Union and Confederate sides. In the north, women had to deal with male colleagues who thought they didn’t belong. In the south, women were denied permission to work as nurses for fear the experience might expose them to the horrors of war. However, as the war progressed, both the Union and Confederate armies changed their policies. Two months after the war began, the United States Secretary of War Simon Cameron appointed Dorothea Dix as Superintendent of Women Nurses. Dorothea was in charge of organizing and staffing the military hospitals. She also established specific criteria for her contracted nurses which included: a minimum age of 30, the ability to pay their own way, 2 letters of recommendation, and sobriety. Dorothea discouraged single women from joining for fear of exposing them to strange men and the hostilities of war. In August of 1861 the United States Congress authorized the Surgeon General to employ female nurses and as compensation paid them about $12 a month, plus food rations. Several northern women operated as nurses under the U.S. Sanitary Commission. The following year (1862) the Confederate Congress passed a law allowing civilians to serve in military hospitals, including women.

When the Civil War began, there were no formal schools to train nurses. Volunteer nurses were largely inexperienced. Instead, they received their education on the job. Civil War nurses had a lot of responsibilities. Among them, nurses had to change bandages, tend wounds, dispense medicine, pass out supplies, write letters on behalf of soldiers, cook and serve meals, and wash the laundry. In the course of their duties, they risked exposure to communicable diseases in unsuitable conditions as well as exposure to the dangers of the battlefield. Makeshift hospitals were overrun with the wounded and dying. But many women continued to volunteer. About 3,300 women served as nurses for the Union Army from 1861-1865 The number of confederate nurses is unknown, but the number seems to be in the thousands.

Civil War Nurse Anne Bell caring for soldiers in Nashville, Tennessee ca. 1861-1865

Civil War Nurse Anne Bell caring for soldiers in Nashville, Tennessee ca. 1861-1865 Via: Wikimedia Commons

The efforts of women during the Civil War transformed the profession. The war shifted the range of nursing from the home to the hospital. It was Clara Barton, a Civil War nurse veteran, who founded the American Red Cross in 1881. In 1868 the president of the American Medical Association, Samuel Gross advocated for the creation of an official nursing school. The first formal nursing school in Texas was founded in 1890 by John Sealy hospital in Galveston. Thanks to the men and women who volunteered as nurses during the Civil War, nursing has become an integral part of the health profession that we benefit from anytime we need medical attention. [Ashton Meade, edited by Joscelynn Garcia]

Additional Resources:

Alcott, Louisa May. 1993. Hospital sketches. Chester, CT: Applewood Books

Devine, Shauna. Learning from the Wounded: The Civil War and the Rise of American Medical Science. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2014.

Favor, Lesli J, PhD. Women Doctors and Nurses of the Civil War. New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc, 2004.

Judd, Deborah, Kathleen Sitzman, G. Megan Davis. A History of American Nursing: Trends and Eras. Sudbury: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2010.

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