An exhibition of UBC Library items related to the American Civil War is now on display at Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC).
April 12, 2011 marked the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. The first major battle took place in July 1861, and for four years war the Union (North) and Confederate (South) states waged war. The Union emerged victorious, with the abolition of slavery being one of the major outcomes. But the human cost was staggering. In total, more than 600,000 soldiers lost their lives, including nearly 40,000 African-American Union soldiers. At least 50,000 civilians are estimated to have died and another 200,000 to have become refugees.
Despite Britain’s official neutrality, its colonies north of the U.S. border were significantly affected by the war, and even played a role in causing it. The “Underground Railroad” had operated for many years before the war began. Less known is that more than 30,000 British North Americans fought in the conflict, primarily for the North. The war also played a role in the drive for Canadian Confederation.
Items in the RBSC exhibition include letters (one from a former Union General to a former Confederate General regarding the Battle of Gettysburg, and another from the widow of Robert E. Lee), maps, a photo album, a song book, a daily diary mentioning significant events during the war and more.
Rare Books and Special Collections is located on level one of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.
The above image is of President Lincoln and General Grant. University of British Columbia Library, E457.52 M87 (Lincoln) and RBSC ARC 1570 (Grant).