Civil War Field Printing

Grade Range: 5-12
Resource Type(s): Reference Materials
Date Posted: 5/25/2012

This online exhibition explore the role of the portable printing press in conveying information during the Civil War. The ability to communicate quickly in wartime can profoundly affect military actions and outcomes. The invention of portable tabletop printing presses at the time of the American Civil War (1861-1865) allowed for better communication in the field. Portable presses were purchased by several Union and Confederate military units. They allowed for the rapid production and wide distribution of urgent orders, and also routine documents such as requisitions and entertaining material such as unit newsletters. Albert Adams’ New York cylinder press, the Cottage press, was advertised to the armed forces and to merchants. This press, along with at least three other similar inventions, became particularly popular during the War. The use of portable printing presses expanded after the War and a movement of amateur printers was born.

National Standards

Historical Thinking Standards (Grades K-4)

Standards in History (Grades K-4)

United States History Standards (Grades 5-12)

Historical Thinking Standards (Grades 5-12)


History, military history, military, war, conflict, battle, soldier, uniform, equipment, gun, pistol, rifle, cannon, weapon, treaty, Civil war, war between the states, 1800, nineteenth century, 19th century, abolition, abolitionist, Brown, John, Virginia, Harper’s Ferry, Lee, Robert E, Stuart, Jeb, Stuart, J.E.B, slave, slavery, racism, insurrection, rebellion, rebel, African-American, black history, Bleeding Kansas, Kansas-Nebraska Act, Fort Sumter, Charleston, South Carolina, Confederacy, Confederate, Confederate States of America, CSA, secession, secessionist, Lincoln, Abraham, Davis, Jefferson, broadside, Charleston Mercury, Bull Run, Manassas, Jackson, Thomas, Stonewall, strategy, stars and bars, flag, Shenandoah, valley, Richmond, Washington, DC, Antietam, Sharpsburg, Maryland, Tennessee, Mississippi, Vicksburg, Grant, Ulysses S., contraband, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Sherman, William Tecumseh, Sherman’s March, March to the Sea, Georgia, Atlanta, Navy, US navy, United States navy, USN, CSA navy, confederate navy, sea, blockade, Ironclads, Monitor, Merrimac, CSS Virginia, sailor, Wilderness, Petersburg, Appomattox, emancipation, Emancipation Proclamation, McClellan, George, election of 1864, election of 1860, Sheridan, Philip, Mosby, John, Farragut, David, Semmes, Raphael, CSS Alabama, camp life, vivandières, prisoner of war, POW, minié ball, Barton, Clara, casualties, wound, Reconstruction, Booth, John Wilkes, Ford’s Theater, assassination, Johnson, Andrew, Amendment, 13th Amendment, thirteenth Amendment, 14th Amendment, fourteenth amendment, 15th amendment, fifteenth amendment, Medal of Honor, the North, the South,