In the winter of 1861 Abraham Lincoln left his home in Springfield, Illinois to become President of the United States. Southern states reacted to the election of a Republican president by seceding from the Union, and the nation descended into Civil War. Although the combatants fought no battles on Illinois soil, the Civil War defined an era in the state. Illinoisans shaped the war's course and felt its effects. This digital collection presents primary source material from the Civil War era in Illinois. These materials include letters, diaries and reminiscences of Union soldiers, as well as important documents, images, and other resources from the home front. For more information, including historical themes, narrative essays, and lesson plans. see the main page for Illinois During the Civil War.
- Barnes, James. The Photographic History of the Civil War. Vol. 6. p. 16-17., Tulane University, Joseph M. Jones Steamboat Collection, Confederates in the Newly-Captured Pensacola Fort--1861. Full of enthusiasm and military spirit, but suspecting little what trials lay before them, the Confederate volunteers pictured here are drilling at one of the forts that had been abandoned by the Federal Government, even before the momentous shot was fired at Sumter. Fort Pickens, through the forethought of Commander Henry Walke, who disobeyed his orders most brilliantly and successfully, had been saved to the Federal Government. The other batteries and forts at Pensacola, however, had been handed over to the Confederacy, and here we see the men in gray, early in '61, taking advantage of the gift. Not the new uniforms, the soldierly and well-fed appearance of the men, the stores of ammunition for the great guns.
- Barnes, James. The Photographic History of the Civil War. Vol. 6. p. 14-15., Tulane University, Joseph M. Jones Steamboat Collection, Custodians of the Coast. Looking out from the mouth of every important harbor along the Southern seacoast, the Confederates were confronted by just such a grim menace as this. Riding at anchor or moving swiftly from point to point, the Federal fighting-ships, with sleepless vigilance, night and day sought every opportunity to destroy the vessels which attempted to keep up the commercial intercourse of the Confederacy with the outside world. At first it was chiefly a ""paper blockade,"" and the fact that its mere announcement accorded to the Confederacy the status of belligerents was hailed at the South as a fortunate diplomatic mistake. Swift merchantmen abroad were easily induced to enter the bold enterprise which meant such profitable trade; laughing at the inadequate Federal patrol, they began to dump huge cargoes of the munitions of war at every Southern port, taking in return cotton, so necessary to keep the looms of Europe going. With the rapid growth of the Federal navy the blockade, whose early impotence had been winked at by European powers, became more and more a fact. The dordon was drawn tighter and tighter from the Potomac to the Rio Grande. One venturesome vessel after another was overhauled or driven ashore and both they and their cargoes became the rich prizes of the Federal navy. While this served vastly to increase the difficulty and danger of dealing.