Emancipation Proclamation: A Letter Home

Today’s blog post comes from National Archives social media intern Anna Fitzpatrick. On January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation brought freedom to the slaves in the Confederacy. By the war's end, the U.S. Colored Troops Bureau had recruited hundreds of thousands of black soldiers, who fought for both their own and others' freedom. The Emancipation … Continue reading Emancipation Proclamation: A Letter Home

Emancipation Proclamation: Creation of the United States Colored Troops

The issues of freedom for the slaves and military service were intertwined from the beginning of the Civil War. News from Fort Sumter had set off a rush by free black men to enlist in military units. They were turned away, however, because a Federal law dating from 1792 barred them from bearing arms for … Continue reading Emancipation Proclamation: Creation of the United States Colored Troops

The Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation

Today’s blog post comes from National Archives social media intern Anna Fitzpatrick. Throughout the Civil War, when President Lincoln needed to concentrate—when he faced a task that required his focused and undivided attention—he would leave the White House, cross the street to the War Department, and take over the desk of Thomas T. Eckert, chief … Continue reading The Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation

Facial Hair Friday: William and William (A Tale of Two Neck Beards)

Today's post comes from Nikita Buley, an intern in the National Archives Office of Strategy and Communications. Why were neck beards ever socially acceptable? In my humble opinion, they are the facial equivalent of mullets or bowl cuts. Unlike bad haircuts, however, they may have had some useful characteristics. Maybe they kept cold wind from … Continue reading Facial Hair Friday: William and William (A Tale of Two Neck Beards)

Facial Hair Friday: The Curiously Facial Hairless Members of Lincoln’s Cabinet

Today's post comes from Nikita Buley, an intern in the National Archives Office of Strategy and Communications. In the late 1700s, as Americans fought for their independence, most men were clean-shaven. As we moved into the 1800s, however, facial hair—elaborate facial hair, at that—came back into style. Despite this shift, many men remained clean-shaven. A … Continue reading Facial Hair Friday: The Curiously Facial Hairless Members of Lincoln’s Cabinet

Facial Hair Friday: Gideon Welles, Bearded and Bright

Today's post comes from Nikita Buley, an intern in the National Archives Office of Strategy and Communications. Since the new film Lincoln has spent a few weeks in theaters, we thought it’d be interesting to learn more about President Lincoln’s fantastically hairy cabinet. First up is Gideon Welles, who served as President Lincoln’s and then … Continue reading Facial Hair Friday: Gideon Welles, Bearded and Bright

The Real Widows of the Pension Office

Today's post was written by Pamela Loos-Noji, a former volunteer with the Civil War Widows Pension Project. The National Archives holds 1.28 million case files of pension applications from family members of deceased Civil War Union soldiers. A team of more than 60 volunteers, led by National Archives staff, is digitizing the files and placing … Continue reading The Real Widows of the Pension Office

Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on display in New York City

The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. . . . In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free—honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best, hope of … Continue reading Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on display in New York City

Secession, Congress, and a Civil War Awakening at the Archives

Today's post comes from Gregory Marose, an intern in the National Archives Office of Strategy and Communications. As a new year begins, the 112th Congress reconvenes for a second session of legislative activity. Representatives and senators from across the country are again descending upon the Capitol, ready to commence debates, proceedings, and hearings. This is how … Continue reading Secession, Congress, and a Civil War Awakening at the Archives

Little Women in the Civil War

About 20,000 women volunteered in military hospitals during the Civil War. Unfortunately, the majority of them left little or no written evidence of their sacrifice in the war. Louisa May Alcott, renowned 19th-century author of Little Women, was one of them, and her service is documented in a Washington, D.C., hospital’s muster roll. Alcott was … Continue reading Little Women in the Civil War