In lesson from the Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies, students examine a primary source that might seem both familiar and strange: a yearbook from Rutgers in 1860, complete with farewell messages from classmates. On close study, the messages from reveal much about the
The United States National 34-Star flag was adopted with the admission of Kansas as the 34th state in January 1861. It was used until 1863 when West Virginia became a state. At no time did the national flag lose stars.
At the Battle of Gettysburg, the Union saw the value of securing a rocky outcropping called Little Round Top. Strong Vincent seized the opportunity, taking the boulder and yelling to his men, “Don’t give an inch.” As he uttered the words a bullet tore through his thigh and lodged
On May 22, 1863, Ulysses Grant sent brigades from three corps of the army to assault Vicksburg. While the assault showed some success, a long bitter struggle ensued and the Confederates quickly restored their original lines of defense. Realizing that the city could not be taken by assault, Grant
Seal with an equestrian portrait of George Washington, surrounded by a wreath composed of the principal agricultural products of the Confederacy including cotton, tobacco, sugar cane, wheat, and rice. Embossed around the edge, "The Confederate States of America: 22 February, 1862" and the motto D
The Battle of Gettysburg was a critical turning point in the American Civil War. During the first three days of July 1863, over 172,000 men and 634 cannons were positioned in an area encompassing 25 square miles.
This Sharps rifle was made especially for John Brown, though it bears no maker’s mark or number. Brown carried this weapon on his Kansas campaign in 1856 and later presented it to Charles Blair of Collinsville, Connecticut. In 1857, Brown contracted Blair to forge pikes for the clandestine slav
Elijah has the distinction of being the first child born in the Buxton Settlement, which was founded in Ontario in 1849 as a haven for former slaves. Narrator Elijah tells an episodic story that builds a broad picture of Buxton's residents before plunging into the dramatic events that take him ou