Civil War Stories: Introduction

Civil War Stories -- Documents and artifacts from the Madison County Historical Society


The Civil War represents a brutal and by definition deeply divisive chapter in American history. The issues and aftermath of the war continue to reverberate in American society today, more than a century and a half later. The historiography of the Civil War has evolved over time as Americans struggle to understand its meanings and incorporate its lessons. The iterative process of interpreting and reinterpreting history can obscure the personal stories and direct experiences of historical actors.

Illinois fought on the Union side of the Civil War. The Madison County Historical Society’s collection includes letters and other writings by Union soldiers from Madison County, as well as artifacts they used and sundry official documents associated with the war. This online exhibition presents letters, diary entries, a memoir, and a map created by seven different soldiers. The soldier’s stories are accompanied by contextual information and selected supplementary documents and photographs from the collection. Ideas for using these primary sources as a teaching resource in the classroom are also included. But the exhibition offers no without interpretation. In this exhibit, the soldiers speak for themselves.


More in this exhibition series:

Civil War Stories: Introduction — You are here

First Person Accounts

Battle Map: Chickamauga