Exhibit Preview - We Were There

The Civil War transformed the lives of all who were swept up in it - whether on a battlefield or in a hospital, on a farm or in a factory.

  • Who were the men and women in blue and gray?

  • Who tended to them when they were sick or wounded?

  • Who took care of the farms and homes left behind?

  • Who worked in the arsenals, built the forts, and provided supplies?

Records preserved in the National Archives contain remarkable stories of ordinary people as well as generals and statesmen. Take a look.

Bill Granting Sarah Emma Edmonds Seelye a Military Pardon

Hard-won pension

This bill granted Sarah Emma Edmonds Seelye a pension. It did not come easily for her. After serving under the alias Frank Thompson during the war, Seelye returned to civilian life as a woman, married, and focused on raising her family. However, she suffered a lifelong disability as a result of her service and eventually applied for a pension because her family needed the income. This document includes the amount she received each month.

National Archives, Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs

Read the transcript

confederate constitution