Civil War Treasures
Before, During and After
the Civil War.

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This selection of images is intended to serve as a chronological overview of the war as depicted in items from the Civil War collections at the New-York Historical Society. The variety of materials in the collections represented here provides a complex look at the war, from both the Union and Confederate points of view, by artists and observers of many types.

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Previous | After the Civil War

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"Going out to swallow the oath," from BV-Naval History Society Collection, Civil War--Point Lookout, drawing by Confederate prisoner
As the war came to a close, troops that had surrendered to Union generals were paroled upon taking an oath of allegiance to the United States. Prisoners held in Northern prisons were also required to take the oath before they were released.

In late May, a triumphal review of Union troops took place in Washington, D.C.

The Union Commander-in-chief did not live to see the triumphant return of the Union troops, however. Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865

After the war, many veterans found the transition back to civilian life difficult. Many were severely wounded, or had lost limbs. William Oland Bourne became acquainted with many such veterans when at the Central Park Hospital. He published a magazine sold by veterans, entitled The Soldier's Friend. To encourage wounded veterans to develop their skills, Bourne announced a left-handed writing contest for men who had lost their right arms. In this letter, Phineas P. Whitehouse encourages fellow veterans to re-learn writing while convalescing. These documents serve as a reminder of the terrible human cost of the Civil War.

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Letter from Phineas P. Whitehouse to William Oland Bourne, April 27, 1867; written from Central Park Hospital in New York; it encourages others to learn to write with their left hand.
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Grand review of the Army of the Potomac looking up Pennsylvania Avenue from the Treasury Building. Major-General Wright and the 6th Army Corps passing in review, by Brady and Co., 1865.
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President Lincoln's Funeral - Lying in state in the Capitol, Springfield

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