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Although the battlefields were miles from its borders, the bitter struggles of the American Civil War (1861-1865) had a profound effect on New Jersey. New Jersey supplied over 88,000 men to the Union armies, and was represented in every major battle. 6,082 enlisted men and 218 officers lost their lives in the course of the war. In addition, many civilians--both men and women--traveled to the battlefields to volunteer in whatever way was needed. At home, the war caused political divisions, economic dislocations, and much hardship for those left behind. The metaphor of struggle, both ideological as well as amongst soldiers, describes the effort of the citizens of each state, including New Jersey, to understand the constitutional ideals of statehood and nationhood in terms of their own lives. As well as telling the stories of the soldiers who left the Garden State to fight for the Union, this exhibition explores the political and social context of the conflict in New Jersey.

The Rutgers University Libraries wish to thank the New Jersey Council for the Humanities for supporting this digital exhibition.

About this Exhibit

The American Civil War is a vast subject that has produced and continues to produce a wealth of scholarship. The literature on the Civil War in New Jersey in itself is formidable. This sesquicentennial period (2011-2015) has reignited interest in the conflict and has already resulted in many publications, exhibitions, and programs.

Special Collections and University Archives of the Rutgers University Libraries (SC/UA) hold one of the largest collections of Civil War manuscripts and publications in the state, including thousands of individual items. This digital exhibition, part of SC/UA's contribution to the sesquicentennial commemoration, is designed to highlight these rich resources. This digital exhibition is based on the physical exhibition, Struggle Without End: New Jersey and the Civil War, which was on display at the Special Collections and University Archives galleries from September 2012 to July 2013. Many, but not all of the objects in the physical exhibition are included in the digital one.

Exhibition Curator: Fernanda Perrone


This digital exhibition was made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations in the exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.

The curator would like to thank Kalaivani Ananthan, Isaiah Beard, Catherine Carey, Melissa De Fino, Kathy Fleming, Mary Ann Koruth, Rhonda Marker, Sam McDonald, Chad Mills, and especially Caryn Radick for designing and mounting this digital exhibition.

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Civil War-era kepi (cap) probably worn by Robert McAllister.