A Guide to Civil War Washington

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A Guide to Civil War Washington

Exploring Civil War Era D.C.

Guide to Civil War Washington coverWhat was it like to live or visit D.C. during the Civil War?

In this newly published book, A Guide to Civil War Washington, D.C., local author Lucinda P. Janke provides a well-written and interesting hometown history of the nation's capitol during the Civil War era.

When President-elect Abraham Lincoln arrived in February 1861, Washington City (as it was then called) was a sleepy place. It was much smaller than we know today -- there were many wooded areas in the outlying area. It was challenging to navigate through the unpaved streets either on foot or by horse-drawn vehicle. Washingtonians then, as we do now, experienced hot and uncomfortable summers.

The outbreak of the war attracted increased activity in the city: the arrival of newcomers and federal troops, building projects, and war-time industry. Both Northern and Southern spies came to D.C. for their clandestine activities. All kinds of business flourished, some honest, others questionable.

Other topics discussed are hospitals, the African-American population, the impact of the signing of the D.C. Emancipation Proclamation of 1862, and the legacy of the war on the city. 

Interested in exploring? To help you get started, there's a list of Civil War sites you can visit in D.C. A few are located outside the city if you'd like to take a day trip.

With the ongoing 150th anniversary of the Civil War, this book is a good overview of hometown D.C. life during the Civil War era and its legacy.
 -- Elisa Babel, Adult Librarian