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American Civil War: Resources in Special Collections

A guide to resources on the American Civil War using materials from the University of Maryland Special Collections in Hornbake Library.

About Archives and Manuscripts

Special Collections in Hornbake Library at University of Maryland house personal papers and manuscript collections documenting all aspects of Maryland history and culture. The pages listed under the Archives and Manuscripts section of this guide link to three ArchivesUM guides that can be used to research the American Civil War.

To find documents from archival collections, browse the various collection decriptions to identify materials that cover your area of interest.  Then, click on the finding aid link for a more detailed look at the type of materials included in the collection, the scope of the dates covered, and a general inventory of boxes and/or folders.  Archival collections can be requested in the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library.  

  • Clara Barton papers: Clara Barton was the founder of the American Red Cross. Her papers include correspondence relating to the Women's Relief Corps, Auxiliary of the Grand Army of the Republic. The letters, written between 1889 and 1890, concern Senate Bill 373 of the 51st Congress which proposed pensions for women who were nurses in the Civil War.
  • Burhaus Family papers: Herman Burhaus, one of the ten Burhaus children of Brooklyn, New York, was a volunteer in the 4th New York Union Regiment during the Civil War. This collection contains ten letters he wrote to his sister while he was stationed in the Washington, D. C., area. The letters discuss military life, the battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam), and the Battle of Fredericksburg in which he was injured while serving under General Burnside of the Army of the Potomac. Also included in this collection is a cased ambrotype of Herman and his older brother Alexander. The photograph was taken in New York during the war, and both men are in uniform.
  • Hendricks and Hamilton families papers: Several members of the Hendricks and Hamilton families lived through the Civil War. The family lived near Petersburg, Virginia during the war and had financial dealings with the Confederate government. After the war, the family relocated to Baltimore. There are several items that document financial transactions in the South during the war, including Confederate vouchers for wood and Confederate paper money. Additionally, there are photographs in the collection that date from the early 1860s.
  • Preston Family papers: The Prestons were an upper middle class Catholic family from Baltimore, Maryland, who was sympathetic to the Confederate cause. Their letters and diaries describe life in Maryland during the Civil War. Of particular note are descriptions of the aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg.
  • John E. Rastall papers: John E. Rastall was a Union Lieutenant with the First Regiment, Eastern Shore, Maryland Volunteers during the Civil War. The collection includes 128 letters written by Rastall to his family in Milwaukee, Wisconsin detailing his service in Virginia and Maryland, especially on the Eastern Shore.

For any questions or assistance with locating archival materials, contact a reference librarian in the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library, or visit the ArchivesUM homepage. 

Digital Collections

Select archival and special collection materials have been digitized and made available online through the Digital Collection @ the University of Maryland, a searchable digital repository of scanned materials from the University of Maryland's libraries. 

Use the keyword search box on the homepage to search collection by keywords.  For example, typing "Civil War" in the search box will retrieve materials realted to the Civil War. 

You may also search using the provided subject browse terms, which includes a "War, Military" option.