Civil War was for many soldiers the grand event of their lives.
Of the four million men who enlisted, more than 620,000 would
die from combat, sickness, and disease. Yet from among those
who survived came a plethora of published memoirs and regimental
histories, chronicling every facet of a soldiers life.
Over the years, the Smithsonian has acquired hundreds of artifacts
to help tell and preserve this story, which is both personal
and national in dimension.
This section about the life and trappings of soldiers is
compiled almost entirely from the collections of the National
Museum of American History. Included are examples of flags,
uniforms, provisions, personal effects, medical and musical
instruments, and prison art. These objects are representative
and, as in the case of uniforms and insignia, offer only a
peripheral view of a much larger collection.