April 20 - October 27, 2013
Iowans and the Civil War: The Western Theater
“THE UNION IS DISSOLVED!” This headline blazed across newspapers following the vote of 169 to 0 at the secession convention on December 20, 1860 marking the formal withdrawal of South Carolina from the Union. Before Abraham Lincoln took the oath of office on March 4, 1861, seven Southern states left the Union and created the Confederate States of America. At 4:30 a.m. on April 12, 1861, cannons fired upon Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor, one of two remaining military forts under federal control. The Civil War had begun.
The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum is commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War with a major exhibit entitled Iowans and the Civil War: The Western Theater. The exhibit focuses on Iowa’s unique contribution to the war effort and traces the early efforts of abolitionist, John Brown. As Iowa watched the debate over slavery result in bloody insurrection, most Iowans heeded the call to arms, enlisting to fight for the cause of Union. Given its location, Iowans served in the Western Theater of the war, largely under the leadership of General Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman fighting in some of the war’s most significant battles: Wilson’s Creek, Shiloh, Vicksburg, Atlanta, and Sherman’s March to the Sea. Learn the stories of Iowa soldiers through their letters as they describe the war and their first encounters of battle. See the uniforms they wore and the weapons that were used as well as the artifacts that were part of every day camp life. Enter a Civil War field hospital and learn why disease killed more men in war than gunfire.
The war was about many things but none more important than ending slavery. This exhibit features two of the key documents issued to abolish slavery: the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment. A special thank-you to the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History for loaning one of three known copies of the California printing of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, signed by Abraham Lincoln. Thirteen commemorative copies of the Thirteenth Amendment were created. A Senate copy signed by Abraham Lincoln and members of the Senate will also be displayed in this exhibit.
Iowans and the Civil War: The Western Theater, will open on April 20 and end on October 27, 2013 in the Quarton Temporary Exhibit Gallery at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum.