The Nau Civil War Center would like to acknowledge the support of the Jefferson Trust for its first two digital projects, Black Virginians in Blue and UVA Unionists. The grant was awarded in 2018 and helped the Center hire additional staff, conduct research, and build a website for the UVA Unionists project.
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.
A number of students, both undergraduates and graduates, have assisted former Digitial Historian Will Kurtz in our research endeavors. In particular, Brian Neumann has served as lead editorial assistant since the summer of 2017, providing valuable assistance on "UVA Unionists." Frank Cirillo and Stephanie Lawton have also provided research and project assistance as editorial assistants during the 2019-2020 academic year.
Almost 200,000 Black soldiers and sailors wore the Union blue during the Civil War. This project will create a database of Black Virginians from Albemarle County, Virginia, who served in the Union army or navy. So far we have identified 257 men who enlisted and served in more than 80 different regiments and enlisted in more than 20 different states. At least 72 of these men died during the war, most from disease. At least 132 pensions were filed by these Black Albemarle veterans, and they were unusually successful in having their applications approved. With the help of the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, we built a database of our soldiers and their families, which form the backbone of a website that launched in April 2021. Our project site contains a searchable database, primary sources, maps, soldier biographies, and essays examining our men before, during, and after the Civil War.
Related to Black Virginians in Blue, is our effort to identify UVA students who fought for the Union. So far we have found sixty-four students and five professors or instructors who, unlike the majority of their peers, remained loyal to the United States during the Civil War. 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. UVA Unionists launched in May 2021.
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.