American Civil War Collection


Following the November 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) as President of the United States, seven states in which slavery was legal individually seceded from the Union. They did so because of Lincoln’s opposition to the expansion of slavery in the western United States. South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas declared themselves the Confederate States of America (C.S.A.), and established a capital first in Montgomery, Alabama and then in Richmond, Virginia.

War broke out in March 1861 with the Battle of Fort Sumter near Charleston, South Carolina. Waged between 1861 and 1865, the American Civil War caused at least 1,030,000 casualties, including about 620,000 soldier deaths.

The items in this collection are a selection of documents and ephemera created during, and often about, the American Civil War.

View the items in the American Civil War Collection.

Pictured above: detail of Traitor. Patriot, 1861-1865, A1985/012/0563.

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Collection Items

Circular letter from William Hobart Hadley to Mosaic Lodge, No. 52, 1864 September 20
Circular letter from the Masonic Mission to Mosaic Lodge, No. 52. September 20, 1864. In this circular letter, William Hobart Hadley, the Vice President of the Masonic Mission in Maine, and Agent for the New England States, reminds the Fraternity…

Letter from Winyah Lodge, No. 40, to Pacific Lodge, No. 45, 1873 June 04
Letter from Winyah Lodge, No. 40, to Pacific Lodge, No. 45. Dated June 04, 1873. In this letter, Winyah Lodge, No. 40, describes how white Union soldiers of the 15th Maine torched their lodge building in response to being “relieved by a Battalion of…

Letter from Grand Master William Parkman to Alonzo Hall Quint, 1864 November 17
Letter from Grand Master William Parkman to Alonzo Hall Quint. Dated November 17, 1864. In this letter, Grand Master William Parkman of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts provides Freemason Alonzo Hall Quint with information regarding Quint's proposed…
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