Monday, May 9, 2011

ON WISCONSIN! A Great New Civil War Resource from the Wisconsin Historical Society!

Courtesy of Eric Buxton - a friend, former colleague, and "Mad City" resident - and comes news of a great new Civil War research resource from the Wisconsin Historical Society:

Did your great-grandpa muster for a Wisconsin regiment in the Civil War? How many residents from Lodi fought in the war, and where did they fight?

A new online collection from the Wisconsin Historical Society's may have the answer for you. In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, the society has launched a Web page (here) containing more than 16,000 pages of eyewitness accounts of the war, most of which have never been seen online before.

"Wisconsin in the Civil War" (here) also offers 44 biographies of Wisconsin's Civil War leaders, 73 histories of regiments and 34 summaries of battles in which Wisconsin troops fought.

Users can learn where soldiers from their town served, with 655 municipalities indexed. Genealogists also can search original documents about more than 35,000 individuals.

The collection includes about 1,000 images, 2,500 newspaper articles, 10,000 letters sent home from the front, a handful of original diaries, 250 battle maps and dozens of memoirs.

Five staff members and 19 students, interns and volunteers worked on the project over 18 months. Funding for the project came from the Wisconsin Historical Foundation and from revenue earned by the state Historical Society's genealogical research service and historical image sales program.

My first and quick look at and use of the website does show it to be quite impressive...

The "keyword" search feature is quite useful...a simple search for "medicine" yielded more than ninety hits from sources such as newspaper clippings, transcribed diaries, compiled soldier correspondence, published primary sources, and more.

A keyword search for a battle like "Bull Run" (or "Manassas") - a favorite of our friend and First Bull Run expert, Harry Smeltzer, at the Bull Runnings blog - yielded between 200-400 hits, including pages images from a young girl's diary describing the first reports of wounded and killed from the battle:

The website is also LOADED with photographs, including this interesting one of "A surgeon examines a patient at the steward's quarters. Joseph W. Curtis, hospital steward, is inside the tent, seated on a medicine chest":

I hope you find the website useful in your research and many thanks to the Wisconsin Historical Society for a GREAT resource!

As always, please make sure you pay attention to coyright and publishing restrictions and preferred citations whenever using archival material. In the case of this collection the instructions are:

All material may be printed or downloaded at no cost for nonprofit educational use by teachers, students and researchers. Nothing may be reproduced in any format for commercial purposes without prior permission.

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