In 1860, Ohio was among the most influential states in the nation. As the third-most-populous state and the largest in the middle west, it embraced those elements that were in concert-but also at odds-in American society during the Civil War era. Ohio’s War uses documents from that vibrant and tumultuous time to reveal how Ohio’s soldiers and civilians experienced the Civil War. It examines Ohio’s role in the sectional crises of the 1850s, its contribution to the Union war effort, and the war’s impact on the state itself. In doing so, it provides insights into the war’s meaning for northern society.
Ohio’s War introduces some of those soldiers who left their farms, shops, and forges to fight for the Union. It documents the stories of Ohio’s women, who sustained households, organized relief efforts, and supported political candidates. It conveys the struggles and successes of free blacks and former slaves who claimed freedom in Ohio and the distinct wartime experiences of its immigrants. It also includes the voices of Ohioans who differed over emancipation, freedom of speech, the writ of habeas corpus, the draft, and the war’s legacy for American society.
From Ohio’s large cities to its farms and hamlets, as the documents in this volume show, the war changed minds and altered lives but left some beliefs and values untouched. Ohio’s War is a documentary history not only of the people of one state, but also of a region and a nation during the pivotal epoch of American history.