Inside the CHS

Civil War correspondence

February 22, 2007 · Collections, Manuscripts ·

A 19th century love story is contained in the letters between Frederick Allen Lucas and his “dear friend” Sarah Jane Wadhams, both of Goshen, Connecticut. He was serving with the 2nd Regiment of Heavy Artillery, Connecticut Volunteers and longed for news of home. Tentative at first, the letters gradually reveal more personal information and insights…
Read More »

Getting packages to POWs

February 27, 2007 · Collections, Manuscripts ·

Today we hear about packages going to soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq with relatively few problems. In 1862, Eugenia Monroe wrote to General Wooll asking for his assitance in getting a package of clothing to her brother, Austin G. Monroe. Austin, of Norwich, served with the 2nd Infantry Regiment of Connecticut Volunteers, Rifle Co. B…
Read More »

Stonington, Connecticut.

April 23, 2009 · Collections, Manuscripts ·

One of the largest collections cataloged for our grant project was the Stonington selectmen’s records, 1792-1903.  The collection, measures 30.25 linear feet (61 boxes) and dates from the entire 19th century, the bulk of the records are from the 1880s and 1890s. Earlier records, from the 1820s, have yielded names of colored people (a term…
Read More »

September in the Archives

In September 2008 CHS embarked on a two year, NHPRC grant funded, project to catalog a backlog of 900 manuscripts and account books. Today, 13 months into the project, we have been able to create and add more than 600 catalog records to our online catalog. Some of the highlights from the past month include…
Read More »

Welcome home, Willie!

October 29, 2009 · Collections, Manuscripts ·

Cpl. William L. Norton, Company B, 10th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry missed his sweetheart.

December in the Archives

As the year ended we continued cataloging materials for our NHPRC project. Here are some of the treasures we were able to add to our online catalog last month: The Greene & Park minute book is a small booklet recording an 1806  “cheese” voyage by the Sloop Lady Washington for the firm Greene & Park…
Read More »

It is the story that counts

March 8, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts ·

We are always trying to find an interesting story to tell with items in our collections. Our latest acquisition was, in a way, its own story. We purchased a letter written January 23, 1863,  by George N. Downs who was serving with the Company B of the 22nd Connecticut Volunteers. The letter was  to his…
Read More »

October in the Archives

November 3, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts ·

The Connecticut Historical Society’s website is Please visit to learn more about us! (Due to circumstances beyond our control the site is not currently listed on Google) And now back to our regularly scheduled blogging… The temperatures are dropping, which means it’s a great time to warm up in the Research Center with some…
Read More »

Making Connections

December 10, 2010 · Collections, Manuscripts ·

Every Friday I take the list of  records we have created over the past week as part of our continuing NHPRC grant-funded project, and search our collections database (The Museum System) to see if we have any museum objects attributed to the creators of the manuscripts. Often I will not find anything, but today I…
Read More »

Friday Fun: Did you get your invitation?

One hundred forty-six years ago today (or if you’d prefer, sevenscore and six), President Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural ball was held in Washington, DC. Among those invited was Miss Mary Curtin of Connecticut. Unfortunately, my search to find any information in the Courant about state residents who attended proved fruitless. Anecdotely, though, I know Miss…
Read More »

March in the Archives: Civil War collections

It has been a while since I wrote a [Month] in the Archives post, but with the sesquicentennial of the Civil War and the number of related collections we cataloged in March, it seems like a good time to return to the series. Scholars of the Civil War may already know of these collections; most…
Read More »

Camp Near Pollock’s Mill, Virginia

April 28, 2011 · Collections, Manuscripts ·

We made another great discovery as we continue to catalog our backlog (thanks to NHPRC), and it is yet another document without any author or provenance. This one is a map of what appears to be a Union camp along a river, sometime and some place during the Civil War. The handwritten key to the…
Read More »

A letter from Lewis

October 4, 2011 · Collections, Manuscripts ·

With much of the U.S.  focused on the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, it seems letters and diaries from soldiers are being discovered in attics on an almost daily basis. Obviously, however, not all letters are alike. That is why we were particularly excited when we learned that a letter written by a soldier…
Read More »

Civil War Substitutes

February 15, 2012 · Collections, Manuscripts ·

During the Civil War, men in certain states, who did not want to fight, were able to pay for a substitute. This is what F. Bill, a Connecticut resident, had in mind when he wrote home to H.C. Holmes. (Click the above images to enlarge) Bill was writing from Cleveland, Ohio. He intended to buy…
Read More »

Equipment for soldiers

December 26, 2012 · Collections, Manuscripts ·

We recently acquired the Connecticut Adjutant General’s records of clothing provided to soldiers serving in the Connecticut Volunteers during the Civil War. The Regiments are 1st Cavalry, 1st Heavy Artillery, 2nd Heavy Artillery, 7th Infantry, 8th Infantry, 10th Infantry, 11th Infantry, 15th Infantry and the 16th Infantry. Not all companies in each regiment are covered…
Read More »

One of Hartford’s Heroes

April 30, 2013 · Collections ·

In this photograph taken in the early 1870s, the men of Hartford’s Blake Fire Engine Company No. 7 pose with their steam engine. Although the photograph shows only the engine itself, giving the impression that it was self-propelled, it would have been drawn by fire horses. We don’t know much about the men in the…
Read More »

They Also Served

May 28, 2013 · Collections ·

Miss Jordan, Miss Carpenter, and Miss Marsh appear in a photograph album from the 1860s that once belonged to Sergeant William Huntington of Lebanon, Connecticut and is now in the collections of the Connecticut Historical Society. Huntington was a member of the 8th Connecticut Volunteers and was wounded at the Battle of Antietam on September…
Read More »

Siege and Capture of Vicksburg: Heroic Charge of Union Volunteers

June 25, 2013 · Collections ·

E.B. & E.C. Kellogg, Hartford, Connecticut’s leading lithographers at the time of the Civil War, produced countless patriotic prints during the early years of the conflict. I’ve often wondered why they made fewer and fewer prints as the war dragged on. It seems likely that their customers were growing war-weary, and the increasingly bloody and…
Read More »

In the Aftermath of Gettysburg

July 9, 2013 · Collections ·

Thirteen hundred men from Connecticut took part in the Battle of Gettysburg from July 1 to 3, 1863. When the battle was over, sixty-nine were dead and 291 were wounded, captured or missing.  Overall the two armies suffered nearly fifty thousand casualties. George Baldwin, a soldier in the Fourteenth Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, one of the…
Read More »

Death on the Wing in the Summer of ’64

September 5, 2013 · Collections ·

Let’s face it, this summer’s weather has been a godsend for mosquitoes! Over a foot of rain in June, combined with record heat in July, has been a recipe for disaster, at least comfort-wise. As summer wore on the now familiar news reports of mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus or the even more dangerous Eastern…
Read More »

The Statue on the Green

September 24, 2013 · Collections ·

The Hartford photographer William G. Dudley took this photograph of a Civil War monument on the town green in Glastonbury shortly after it was erected to commemorate Frederick M. Barber and other Glastonbury men killed in the Civil War. Barber, a captain with the 16th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, died on September 20, 1862 of wounds…
Read More »

What is this?

Our exhibit, Making Connecticut, showcases over 500 objects, images, and documents from the CHS collection. “What is this?” posts will highlight an object from the exhibit and explore its importance in Connecticut history every other week. What is this object? What is the story behind it? To find out more,

David Starr, Civil War soldier

November 27, 2013 · Collections ·

David Allen Starr was the son of David H. and Harriet Rogers Starr of New London, Connecticut. In 1862 he and his brother Elisha enlisted in the 5th Regiment, Connecticut Volunteers. David was captured by the Confederate Army at the battle of Cedar Mountain and taken first to Libby Prison and then to Belle Isle….
Read More »

Peek Behind the Scenes All Year Long!

January 13, 2014 · CHS Buzz ·

It is time to unveil the 2014 line up of Behind-the-Scenes Tours. We’re offering even more access to the hidden treasures of Connecticut history that are normally behind closed doors, and with the option of buying a Season Pass, you can get that sneak peek at a great 20% discount!

Sam Colt in Texas

January 14, 2014 · Collections ·

A month ago I visited Aransas National Wildlife Refuge on the south Texas Coast, the wintering grounds of the last wild flock of whooping cranes. The great white birds can be seen feeding in the vast marshes of the refuge, and also foraging in pastures and agricultural fields in nearby communities such as Lamar. In…
Read More »

Who is Alvin?

January 15, 2014 · Collections, Manuscripts ·

One of the things I really like about working with manuscripts is trying to identify the people mentioned in a document. For example, we recently received a letter that was written June 12, 1864 from Willimantic, written by D.F. Johnson to his mother and referring to “our Alvin that was reported wounded”. Okay, it is…
Read More »

Looking at the Backs of Things

March 18, 2014 · Collections ·

Curators and catalogers spend quite a bit of time looking at the backs and bottoms of things, trying to glean information about pictures and objects.  Labels on the back of the frame of an oil painting may tell where and when it was exhibited or purchased.  Marks on prints and drawings may prove clues to…
Read More »

America’s First “Brown Water” Navy

April 17, 2014 · Collections ·

This past weekend we offered a special Civil War-themed behind the scenes tour at CHS. I spent a day selecting a wide variety of objects, manuscripts and graphics items to include in the tour, including several that I had not used in the past. Among these was a pair of fine photographs of river gunboats…
Read More »

Decoration Day A Century Ago

May 29, 2014 · Collections ·

As the end of May approaches I begin my mental checklist of things to do over Memorial Day (originally named “Decoration Day”) weekend: mow the lawn, plant the vegetable garden, make barbeque plans (after consulting the weather gods), attend the local parade, maybe go biking or kayaking; oh, and put flowers on my parents’ graves….
Read More »

This amazing collection of Webster’s gear and personal belongings include diaries kept during his time in service. CHS 2014.141

“Had a touch of the chills & fever.”

October 9, 2014 · Collections ·

Disease was the prime source of fatalities among soldiers in the American Civil War. The story of Private Myron D. Webster provides a more personal glimpse of this reality.

Fitz Hollister’s Observations on Virginia

November 26, 2014 · Collections ·

Fitz Green Hollister was a young farmer from Washington, Connecticut, when he joined the 18th Regiment, Connecticut Volunteers, in 1861. His letters home and his dairies evidence a keen intellect and an eye for detail.

Disciplining Freedom: Union Army Slave Rebels and Emancipation in the Civil War Courts-Martial

May 26, 2016 · ·

We invite CHS members to join us for a brown bag lunch talk with Jonathan Lande, New England Regional Fellowship Consortium Fellow and Brown Ph.D. Candidate studying African American history, the U.S. Civil War, and American legal and constitutional history.

The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution

September 12, 2019 · ·

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Eric Foner will discuss the wide-ranging effect of the Civil War and Reconstruction in this free lecture.

More Articles

Click here for COVID-19 visiting rules. Click here for the CHS’s digital programs.