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Civil War Washington

History, Place, and Digital Scholarship

Susan C. Lawrence

Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Imprint: University of Nebraska Press
Published: 04/2015
Pages: 240
Subject: History
eBook ISBN: 9780803269910


While it is impossible to re-create the tumultuous Washington DC of the Civil War, Civil War Washington sets out to examine the nation's capital during the Civil War along with the digital platform ( that reimagines it during those turbulent years. Among the many topics covered in the volume is the federal government's experiment in compensated emancipation, which went into effect when all of the capital's slaves were freed in April 1862. Another essay explores the city's place as a major center of military hospitals, patients, and medical administration. Other contributors reflect on literature and the war, particularly on the poetry published in hospital newspapers and Walt Whitman's formative experiences with the city and its wounded. The digital project associated with this book offers a virtual examination of the nation's capital from multiple perspectives. Through a collection of datasets, visual works, texts, and maps, the digital project offers a case study of the social, political, cultural, and scientific transitions provoked or accelerated by the Civil War. The book also provides insights into the complex and ever-shifting nature of ongoing digital projects while encouraging others to develop their own interpretations and participate in the larger endeavor of digital history.


Susan C. Lawrence is an associate professor of history at Ohio State University. She is the author of Charitable Knowledge: Hospital Pupils and Practitioners in Eighteenth-Century London.


“Archivally rich and impressively executed. For the growing number of people intrigued by the District of Columbia as the site of a social revolution during the 1860s, ‘Civil War Washington’ is a particularly engrossing venture.”—Stephen Berry, co-director of the Center for Virtual History at the University of Georgia and author of House of Abraham: Lincoln and the Todds, A Family Divided by War