The fall 2016 semester has been a very busy one for all us at the John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History.
Our website was recently updated to accommodate a new blog that we hope to update regularly each month with contributions from UVA graduate students, Nau Center board members, and affiliated faculty. Our first blog post, written by Jonathan W. White of Christopher Newport University, brilliantly examines the life of James T. S. Taylor, a United States Colored Troop (USCT) veteran from Charlottesville, VA. White mined military records, WPA slave narratives, and the Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress to illustrate a forgotten part of Albemarle County’s Civil War history, that of local black men who fought for the Union.
Dr. White’s blog serves as an introduction to our new project examining the lives of black men from Albemarle who served in the Union Army or Navy during the Civil War. From just a few dozen men that we found initially in a search on Ancestry.com, we have located over 230 men through additional research online and an onsite visit to the National Archives to look at United States Colored Troops (USCT) regimental and company descriptive books. With the help of IATH and a local designer named Anne Chesnut, we are designing a project website that we hope to launch next year. We also continue to research the Unionist side of UVA’s history and have managed to identify 12 former students who served in the Union Army or Navy. Both of these research projects are important and timely endeavors as Charlottesville and UVA grapple with what to do with the many monuments on grounds and in downtown dedicated to the city’s more well-known Confederate past.
Finally, we continue to work on our Civil War prisons project, with an ongoing effort to digitize all of the monthly prison returns found in Series 2, Volume 8 of the Official Records.