Civil War Biographies

According to one contemporary estimate, as many as one-third of all able-bodied Ohio men were, or had been, actively engaged in the Union forces by the end of 1863 (Reid, 1868). They represented every age group and educational background. While they were in the service, they wrote to their families and to their hometown newspapers, some with an eye to future careers in journalism or public service, some to let the folks back home know what was "really" going on among the troops, and some to maintain vital community connections.

After the war, they returned to the families, farms, and businesses they had left behind, or they embarked on new careers and shaped the culture, economy, and politics of Ohio beyond the turn of the next century. The diaries and correspondence found in the manuscript collections of the Center for Archival Collections are a valuable resource for those researching the Civil War era. The correspondence found in local newspapers, however, expands our understanding of the way the war affected political and domestic life away from the battlefield. The correspondence indexes provide efficient access to these letters.

To understand these letters within the context in which they were composed, however, researchers need to know something about the writers. Compiled from county histories and newspaper obituaries, these biographies should help to fill the needs of researchers of civil war and family history.

Our special thanks go to volunteer Daniel Masters and student employees Brittany Meadows, David Kuebeck, and Dan Moates.