The Nau Center would like to acknowledge the support of the Jefferson Trust for its two digital projects, Black Virginians in Blue and UVA Unionists. The grant was awarded in 2018 and will help the Center hire additional staff, conduct research, and build a website for UVA Unionists.
The Center is additionally grateful to Professor Worthy Martin and his staff at the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities for all of their technical support, experience, advice, and expertise that will make our digital projects possible.
Black Virginians in Blue
Some 450,000 men from slave states wore the Union blue during the Civil War. This project will create a database of black Virginians from Albemarle County who served in the Union Army or Navy. So far we have identified almost 250 men who enlisted and served in more than 70 different regiments, and we are nearing the end of our initial searching phase. With the help of the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, we are building a database of our soldiers and their families which will be the backbone of a future website. Our project site will contain a searchable database, maps, soldier biographies, and essays examining our men before, during, and after the Civil War. In the meantime, we will post regular project updates on our blog.
Related to Black Virginians in Blue, is our effort to identify UVA students who fought for the Union. So far we have found nearly sixty students and one professor who, unlike the majority of their peers, remained loyal to the United States. Our search, led in large part by graduate student Brian Neumann and undergraduate Jane Diamond, has also uncovered hundreds of students who were not previously identified as Confederate soldiers or sailors. Taken together, our UVA Unionists and Black Virginians in Blue projects will tell a much more diverse story about the Civil War at UVA or in Albemarle County than has ever been told before.
Civil War Prisons
This project will create a series of digital maps to help illustrate the prisoner of war experience during the Civil War. One map will give users an overview of where major prison camps were located in the North and South, how big they were, how many prisoners died at each location, and other similar information. Another map will show the development of the Union prison system over time using data from the monthly prison returns found in the Official Records. Finally, the project will compare a prison site in the Confederacy to one in the North in order to explore the similarities and differences of the two prison systems during the conflict.