The Civil War Collection of Howard Coffin
When the rebellion began, President Lincoln called on the loyal states for support of the Union cause. From the hills and valleys of Vermont, people came forward to face the challenge: farmers, carpenters, machinists, housewives, teachers, shopkeepers, students, doctors, lawyers--all became involved in the war effort, each in his or her own way.
Historian Howard Coffin spent 40 years collecting artifacts that demonstrate the contributions of Vermonters to the war effort. This exhibition included the best of his collection. On display were letters written under fire; the epaulets, hat, writing desk, and shaving kit of a Vermont officer; the blood-stained diary of a man who died at Gettysburg; the pistol carried by the first Union soldier over the wall when the siege of Petersburg was broken; a map of Northern Virginia, used by General George Stannard; a painting of the Battle of Bull Run, painted by a Vermont soldier who fought there. Containining more than 100 artifacts in all, the exhibition wove a vivid story about Vermont’s response to the crisis of civil war, and about Vermont’s role in preserving the Union.
All images in this article, including the thumbnail image of the drum used in the right column, are by First Light Studios.