Allegheny Arsenal Explosion


Civil War Women in the Arsenals

On September 17, 1862, seventy-eight girls and young women were killed in an explosion at the Allegheny Arsenal in the Lawrenceville section of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - the worst civilian disaster of the Civil War. The deaths of these young women were given little press coverage because the Battle of Antietam was fought the same [Read More ...]

Trostle Farm


Heroism and Sacrifice at Trostle Farm

Image: Dead horses of the 9th Massachusetts Battery at Trostle Farm
This photo of the Catherine Trostle house was taken on July 6, four days after the fighting raged around her farm.

In July 1863, the Trostle Farm south of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania was owned by Peter Trostle, but it was occupied by his [Read More ...]

Port Royal Experiment


The U.S. Government and the Sea Island Slaves

In August 1861, at Fortress Monroe in Virginia, Union General Benjamin Butler declared that the slaves who escaped and came into his lines for protection were contraband of war, a term commonly used thereafter to describe this new status of slaves, which meant that the Army would not return escaped [Read More ...]

Harriet Powers


African American Folk Artist in the South

Harriet Powers is one of the best African American quilt makers in the South in the Civil War era. Although only two of her older quilts have survived, she is now nationally recognized. Using the applique technique, Powers told stories with her quilts, depicting scenes from the Bible and events in American history.

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Fanny Palmer


First Woman to Work as a Professional Artist

Fanny Palmer (1812-1876) was the first woman in the United States to work as a professional artist, and to make a living with her art. She produced more Currier and Ives' prints than any other artist, and she was the only female in a business that was dominated by men. Painting was [Read More ...]

Elizabeth Mendenhall


Civil War Nurse from Ohio

Elizabeth Mendenhall was one of the managers of the Soldiers Aid Society of Cincinnati, Ohio, which was financed mainly by monetary gifts from private citizens. When donations slowed to a trickle, Mendenhall helped organize a sanitary fair in 1863 to raise funds to care for the soldiers.

Image: Soldiers Aid Society like the one established [Read More ...]