Civil War Diarists of Fredericksburg, Virginia

Fredericksburg, Virginia was occupied on three separate occasions by Union forces. These 'invasions' had an impact on the townspeople. The diaries of Fredericksburg residents allow us to experience their anxiety and fear toward enemy armies, as well as the loss of loved ones and the damage or destruction of homes and personal property.

Elizabeth Maxwell Alsop

Elizabeth (Lizzie) Maxwell Alsop began writing her Civil War diary in 1862. She was the sixteen-year-old daughter of …Read More...

Wife of Union General Edwin Vose Sumner

Early Years and Marriage
Hannah Wickersham Forster was born January 31, 1804 in Erie, Pennsylvania. Edwin Vose Sumner was born in Boston, Massachusetts January 30, 1797 and entered the United States army as a career soldier in 1819. He fought in the Black Hawk War (1832) and various campaigns against Native Americans, and with distinction in the Mexican-American War (1846-1848).

Seventeen-year-old Hannah Wickersham Forster, daughter of an army officer, married Edwin Vose …Read More...

A Regiment in the Famous Irish Brigade

When the Civil War broke out, thousands of Irishmen joined the Union Army. Three all-Irish infantry regiments were raised in New York City, and these units would become the core of the Irish Brigade: the 63rd, 69th, and 88th Infantry Regiments, New York State Volunteers. Confederate General Robert E. Lee gave them the nickname 'Fighting 69th'; that designation continued in later wars.

Fighting 69th, the Paintings
In 1991, artist Mort Kunstler had …

Harriet Morrison Irwin (1828-1897) of Charlotte, North Carolina holds a special place in American history as the first woman to patent an architectural design. The structure she created in 1869 was a hexagonal house. She and her husband built at least one version in Charlotte, and she may have designed other hexagonal houses. In addition to her work in architecture, Irwin wrote primarily nonfiction articles related to history and progress.

Early Years
Harriet Abigail Morrison was born in Charlotte, …

Pioneer for Women's Equal Rights

Early Years
When Rebecca Pennell, born in 1821, was four years old, her father died and her mother moved back to her childhood home in Franklin, Massachusetts. Rebecca's mother was the sister of the prominent educational reformer Horace Mann and had a strong relationship with him.

Mann took a particular interest in the education of his nieces and nephew after their father's death, and provided them with financial support. Rebecca remembered Mann as …Read More...

Nurses for the Confederacy

Augusta Jane Evans

One of the most popular American novelists of the nineteenth century, Augusta Jane Evans (1835-1909) became the first female author in the United States to earn more than $100,000 for her work. Although Evans' first novel was a failure, her second, Beulah (1859), was a resounding success; it sold 22,000 copies in the first nine months and received high praise from reviewers. With her literary success, Evans was able to support her family. …Read More...