Hoosiers and the Civil War: A Sesquicentennial Commemoration

2011 marks the beginning of the United States’ five-year commemoration of the Civil War, and the State of Indiana has been active in preparing for and observing this significant historical event.  According to the Indiana Historical Bureau’s website, “The Indiana Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee was appointed by the Indiana History Collaborative to encourage Hoosiers to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Civil War (1861-1865), to provide online resources to help Hoosiers gain a better understanding of Indiana’s part in this most devastating conflict in the nation’s history, and to encourage communication among interested individuals, groups, and organizations.”

The sesquicentennial website itself features a wide range of materials that may be useful to students and educators, researchers, and private citizens in studying the Civil War and observing its 150th anniversary.  The major categories of information include “Hoosier Voices Then” which “provides primary sources on the reactions of Indiana residents to major events” of the war through newspaper articles, letters, and journals.  A second section, “Hoosier Voices Now,” includes a series of new and original historical essays written by leading Civil War historians that “explore and interpret Indiana’s participation in the Civil War and its effects on Indiana’s people.”  The final two sections—“Links & Resources” and “Calendar of Events”—respectively provide users with links to related online resources and primary sources and a chronological listing of sesquicentennial observances throughout the state.

It is worth noting that one of the core essays in the “Hoosier Voices Now” section was contributed by Dr. Thomas Rodgers, a professor in USI’s History Department.  Dr. Rodgers’ essay is entitled “The Hoosier Soldier in the Civil War.” Drawing upon a number of contemporary records, Dr. Rodgers details many aspects of the life of Hoosier soldiers and sailors from enlistment and conscription to battle engagement and confinement as prisoners of war.  The essay concludes, as do all of those in the “Hoosier Voices Now” section with a bibliography of additional sources.

Rice Library contains many items related to the Civil War, and in particular Indiana’s participation in the war, first-person narratives, correspondence, and primary sources.  Why not check out and study one of these works as you commemorate this important event in U.S. history.  A great place to start for resource ideas would be the Civil War section of the American Wars Libguide.

P.O.

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