The Civil War… 150 years ago today… May 11, 1861

May 11, 2011 by  
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We continue our weekly feature of reflecting upon the appropriate 150 year old issue of “Harper’s Weekly” from the perspective of a subscriber in 1861:

Today’s May 11, 1861 edition has nice prints of two soldiers. In seeing other prints of those involved in the war, I’m struck by the variety of uniforms–or lack of them–among many. The only common apparel seems to be the hat, and even those show some variety as well. I would have suspected all Union soldiers would be dressed alike.

The recent action at Harper’s Ferry is portrayed in three prints, one showing a view of the town. I always enjoy seeing town views. Another print shows the town of Annapolis, Maryland, where the famed ship “Constitution” is docked, shown in the foreground.

The dramatic print in this issue is certainly the double page at the center, showing the “Destruction of the United States Navy Yard at Norfolk…By fire…” and also the “Destruction of the United States Ships at Norfolk…”. What a blaze! Two more prints show soldiers marching off to the war, one shows them marching right onto the ship ‘James Adger’. I wonder if they know what the are in for?

Included also is a nice print of Camp Curtin in Harrisburg, Penna., showing troops in parade formation, and I am a bit surprised by the full page of 4 scenes of “Fortifications Thrown up to Protect the U.S. Arsenal at St. Louis, Missouri”. I wouldn’t have guessed war preparations were necessary in the West.

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