NEW BOOK AVAILABLE “Kilpatrick’s Raid Around Atlanta” by Mary L. Weigley


“Kilpatrick’s Raid Around Atlanta” – Mary L. Weigley (author)

Major General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick remains as one of our nations’ most controversial and provocative military figures. Nicknamed “Kill Cavalry”, this Union Officer was accused of the rough handling of his men and horses. His military decisions, especially as commander of a cavalry division at Gettysburg, continues to draw interest and criticism from today’s historians.

In the spring of 1864, Kilpatrick joined forces with Gen. William T. Sherman for the famous “March to the Sea” through the state of Georgia. During those bloody days of August 18 – 22, Kilpatrick’s cavalry was involved in an almost forgotten raid around the embattled city of Atlanta. The 7th PA cavalry was involved.

The book can be purchased by check ($12.95 - $10.95 plus 2.95 shipping and handling) made payable to Mary L. Weigley at P.O. Box 612, Richland PA 17087.

Help support a local (Lebanon County) historian and author.
... Jim Duffy, CWRT

THE CIVIL WAR: Causes, Combat, Conclusions and Consequences - Aug 20-22


THE CIVIL WAR: Causes, Combat, Conclusions and Consequences
August 20, 21 and 22, 2018
Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, NY
Instructor: John C. Fazio

     Course will explore the predisposing and precipitating causes of the war, the major encounters of the armies and navies and the character and skills of their commanders, the assassination of Lincoln and the attempted decapitation of the United States government, and the results of the war. The principal objective of the course is to demonstrate the relevance of the war to our time. 

     Plus, as a BONUS – Ken Burns (yes that one) will be there as well and his program is entitled “The Filmmaker as Collaborator: A Conversation with Ken Burns and Friends” (Dayton Duncan and Geoffrey C. Ward). This program is given on 8/20 and 8/21.

Registration at (course # 1420).

Cost is $85 for the entire course (daily rate available if only 1 or 2 lectures attended.

Hospital Stewards in the American Civil War ~ July 26th


Hospital Stewards in the American Civil War

The hospital steward of the Civil War was an important part of the healthcare team whether in the hospital or in the field with the regiment. Gain incredible insight into the personal experience of this caregiver through first person accounts and in-depth research. Join William Campbell, historian and professor in the Nursing Department at Salisbury College, as he shows the similarities between Civil War hospital stewards and modern day nurses.

Thursday July 26 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM | Pay-what-you-please
National Museum of Civil War Medicine

Delaplaine-Randall Conference Room
48 E Patrick St, Frederick, MD 21701

Learn More

Aftermath: Reconstruction in Downtown Frederick Walking Tour ~ July 7th


Aftermath: Reconstruction in Downtown Frederick Walking Tour

As the Civil War came to an end and Frederick celebrated with fireworks and parades, the next chapter in the city’s history opened. Soldiers from Union and Confederate armies returned to their homes and came back to a city totally changed by war. Slavery had been outlawed, the countryside around Frederick had been raided and ravaged by war, and the city’s traditional political system overturned.

Jake Wynn (NMCWM) and Emily Huebner (Assistant Director Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area) will tell the seldom told story of Frederick during Reconstruction and detail the lives of those who lived through the era that reshaped Frederick, the state of Maryland, and the entire nation.

Saturday July 7 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM | Pay-what-you-please
National Museum of Civil War Medicine

48 E Patrick St, Frederick, MD 21701

Learn More

Archaeological Excavation At The Coleman Site Of Appomattox Court House


  Share By NPT Staff on June 28th, 2018
National Park Traveler

Archaeologists from the University of South Carolina are partnering with Appomattox Court House National Historical Park and the Northeast Regional Archaeology Program to perform an excavation in the park sponsored by Civil War to Civil Rights funding from the National Park Service. The current excavation is located on the historic Dr. Samuel Coleman property, investigating the potential dwelling site of Hannah Reynolds, an enslaved African American servant of the Coleman family.

Reynolds was wounded by a stray artillery shell on the morning of April 9, 1865, near the Coleman House and died three days later after Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, a free woman.

Using a suite of remote sensing techniques, archaeologists surveyed the Coleman site in September 2017 to identify potential locations for the ongoing 2018 excavations. Enduring heat and heavy rains, the archaeological team conducted excavations on site over the last two months. The recent heavy rainfall has led to waterlogged clay soils, forcing archaeologists to adapt their sampling strategies and employ a unique wet-screening technique in their search for artifacts.

As the archaeology team enters the last week of the 2018 field season, they are busy analyzing newly uncovered artifacts from the dig. Recovered objects include a range of domestic and architectural objects such as glass beads, machine cut nails, and medicinal bottles from the 19th century inhabitants. These archaeological materials provide a glimpse into the lives of the people who occupied the Coleman site as well as evidence from the intense battle that was fought on this property on April 9th, 1865. Park staff will use the information from the excavation and related research findings to expand the interpretation of park resources and stories to tell a more of the legacy of emancipation as a result of the surrender.

History's Headlines: The last letter


History's Headlines: The last letter
By:  Frank Whelan
Posted: Jun 23, 2018

(Webmaster note: This Historical Reflection upon the news that the Allentown Post Office Building is to be closed and replaced was written by Frank Whelan, a Board Member of the CWRT of Eastern PA and is one of a series which Frank pens for WMFZ.)

Sometimes it seems things at the Allentown Post Office haven’t changed at all. Long lines of customers waiting to send out letters and packages snake across the lobby floor. People come in to check their post office boxes. And occasionally a stamp collector will arrive to ask about the latest issue. But most of the time there is quiet. Back behind the polite, friendly clerks, and the usually one, two or three occupied counter spaces, there are only a few people moving. Truckloads of mail and the carriers are elsewhere in a facility out on the highways and near the airport, something no one could have imagined when most mail moved by rail and the building was new.

August 30, 1934 was a cool day for the season, in fact so cool the weatherman called it the coolest it had ever been recorded on that day. At 1 o’clock it was 56 degrees, sunny and cloudless, and must have been welcomed by the crowd of several thousand that gathered at 5th and Hamilton Streets at that hour to witness the dedication of the new Allentown Post Office. Although the dedication of post offices was usually left to minor level officials, the featured speaker that day was James A. Farley, Postmaster General of the United States, and a close personal and political friend of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Farley, who would later guide FDR to a landslide victory in 1936 (mocking the election results that showed only Maine and Vermont in the Republican column, he turned the old saying “As Maine Goes So Goes the Nation” on its head by quipping, “As Maine goes so goes Vermont”), must have found himself in strange company, sharing the platform with the city’s Republican mayor Fred Lewis. But perhaps not. Lewis had been a Progressive Republican in the Teddy Roosevelt mold. And with the region, as was the rest of the country in the Great Depression, any aid by the government in providing jobs for local workers was welcome.

The idea for a new post office building for the city had been on the drawing board as early as 1925.  Allentown had gotten its first government-built post office in 1907, a red bricked and pillared structure located at the northwest corner of 6th and Turner Streets. Many thought it was too small and the location was all wrong. Hamilton Street was the city’s main street, so sticking it at 6th and Turner was almost an insult.

The lot at the southeast corner of 5th and Hamilton was empty. Originally it had been the site of the Greenleaf mansion, home of Anne Penn Allen Greenleaf and James Greenleaf. Anne Penn Allen Greenleaf was the daughter of James Allen, the third son of Allentown founder William Allen. At their deaths in the 1850s it was divided into two homes by Charles Seagraves. By 1905 it was turned into a Victorian home by his son James Seagraves, who owned the American Hotel, predecessor to the Americus. At his death in 1907 his widow Ida Wolf Seagraves tried to tell the house but apparently found no takers and circa 1911 it was torn down. A hotel was planned for the site, but nothing ever came of it. It was delayed for so long that the “new hotel” became the butt of community humor.

By 1929 the corner was occupied by a well-maintained billboard bordered by flowers and erected by John Henry Leh to encourage local folks to subscribe funds for the construction of the Allentown Airport, ancestor of Lehigh Valley International Airport. Exactly when the site was picked for a post office is not exactly clear, but it may have been around that time. With the arrival of the Great Depression in the 1930s, the concept of a new Post Office went from being a good idea when we get around to it to an urgent community issue.  The Hoover administration, under siege for not doing enough to help the unemployed, seized on the idea that was on the drawing board and in 1931 ground was broken for the new building.

The architects chosen for the project were Jacoby & Everett. The Jacoby was Lewis Jacoby, who was among Allentown’s first architects, starting his firm in the 1870s. But he had died in March of 1929 and the project was taken over by his partner Herbert F. Everett. A newspaper article from October 27, 1934 described the firm’s tasks this way:

Herbert F. Everett, who is in charge of administration and design, has spent most of the period since the firm was asked to prepare the design upon the work and had the capable assistance throughout of Robert E. Ochs, his chief of staff in the details of the design. Warren H. Oswald was in charge of the specifications supervision and Paul T. Frankenfield, of the mechanical and electrical features of the building.

The inspiration for the design, the Morning Call said, was a modernized version of the Parthenon influenced by the spirit of ancient Greece. Today it is known as Art Deco or Art Moderne. The entrances bear stylized owls, a symbol of the goddess Athena, to whom the Parthenon was dedicated. The press particularly pointed out the use of Indiana limestone in the façade and the black granite in the foundation and around the entrances. They paid attention to the art work in the lobby, particularly the allegory in the decorative plaster frieze that shows the development of the postal system from the horse to the dirigible. “The decorative scheme was done by Amedeo Arbissoni who is employed by Jacoby and Everett,” noted the Morning Call.  The tiles in the lobby floor were pointed out as having “geometric designs,” but apparently no mention was made of the swastika design on the floor installed by the Allentown Marble and Tile Works. Not much of a fuss was made about them until October 4, 1965 when Dagmar Arja, a citizen of Berlin married to an Allentown man, saw them and was horrified. On November 11, 1965 Allentown Tile Works employees came in and removed the five that closely resemble the emblem used by Nazi Germany. The rest, assumed to be Indian good luck signs, remained.

Although ground was broken in 1931 it was not until October 3, 1932 that construction began. Earlier that August Everett had said the government was trying to use only Allentown and Lehigh County men for the work. Completion date was set for December of 1933. But there were delays in starting construction and bad weather. An accident occurred in September of 1933 when the concrete was being poured. Twenty-nine year old Charles Demico was injured when one of the forms supporting the roof concrete gave way.

During the building’s construction the biggest change was the election of 1932 that brought in the Democrats. Clearly, they wanted to show that they were doing all they could to help the unemployed and the Allentown Post Office was something that was right at hand that they could point to. This may be why they sent out Farley, chairman of the Democratic National Campaign Committee, to give it a high profile. Farley arrived by train about 11 am and was taken to a luncheon at the Americus. Shortly before 1 pm all but eight of the city’s 148 postal employees escorted Farley to the grandstand from which he would speak. Introduced by a local congressman, Farley took the opportunity to laud FDR’S New Deal programs and what they were doing to give the unemployed work. He also had a great time having fun at the expense of Republicans.

Perhaps the best part of his address was his detailed account of postal service locally going back to couriers in colonial times. He mentioned a post road that went from Brick Meeting House in Rising Sun, Maryland through Allentown to Pittston Pa. Farley noted that regular U.S. postal service in Allentown began on January 1, 1803 under postmaster George Savitz,, that in the late 1840s Lehigh County had a female postmaster, Maria Hornbeck, who served from 1849 to 1862, and that home delivery of mail came to Allentown on October 1, 1882.

At the end of his speech a car arrived to whisk Farley off to a post office dedication in Wilkes-Barre. In 1940 he would break with Roosevelt when he decided to run for a third term. Farley claimed he just felt it was wrong for Roosevelt to try to do what no other president had done before.

Some, mostly Roosevelt supporters, said it had a lot to do with Farley wanting to run for the office himself in 1940.  “Jim made the mistake of thinking that the applause he got, which greeted him at a new post office, was applause for him personally,” wrote FDR’s long-time secretary Grace Tully.

The next artistic contribution to the Post Office came in 1937 when architect Ochs suggested that some historic murals might liven up the lobby and teach a local history lesson. The government sent muralists Gifford Reynolds Beal. After talking to local historians, he picked subjects from the past that included the First Defenders, Trout Hall and Zion’s Church receiving the Liberty Bell.

Today the Allentown Post Office’s past is known. What will become of it and postal service in Allentown is for the future to decide.

Stone Walls at Gettysburg get a Facelift

  This stone wall along Taneytown Road at the Frey Farm is among three that will be rebuilt.

This stone wall along Taneytown Road at the Frey Farm is among three that will be rebuilt.

Gettysburg, Pa. – This summer and fall, Gettysburg National Military Park will be rebuilding stone walls in three locations on the battlefield:

  • along Emmitsburg Road south of the Peach orchard;
  • along the Slyder Farm lane; and
  • along Taneytown Road.

The project is part of the park’s long-term battlefield rehabilitation program to bring back missing features on the battlefield landscape that played a role and shaped the outcome of the 1863 battle.

 The project will rebuild 1,467 linear feet of missing stone walls including: Snyder farm fields along the Emmitsburg Road; and along the lane to the Slyder farm. The locations and alignments of the walls will be based on historic photographs, maps, including the G. K. Warren Map, the U.S. War Department survey maps of 1893-1895, and the 1863 period plans prepared as part of the Gettysburg Battlefield Landscape Treatment Plan.

The height and appearance of thee rebuilt walls will be based on historic photographs and described in the Cultural Landscape Report Record of Treatment (2018).

The American Conservation Experience (ACE) is providing an 8-person work crew of young adults for the project.  The program helps eliminate backlogs and engages young adults in conservation experiences with the National Park Service.   ACE is modelled after the Youth Conservation Corps.

Safety hazard along Taneytown Road:  The historic stone wall on the west side of Taneytown Road, immediately north of the Peter Frey (Biggs) barn is tumbling down the embankment and onto travel lanes of Taneytown Road (SR 134). Under the direction of the National Park Service, the work crew will dismantle the existing stone wall and move it approximately five feet west to allow space for the wall to be rebuilt using dry laid wall techniques and to avoid future safety concerns of rocks tumbling onto the roadway. This section of wall is 363 linear feet, beginning at the existing post and rail fence near the barn and ending at the first gate opening north of the barn. The rebuilt stone wall will use existing stone currently in place along this alignment.

Gettysburg National Military Park will have two ACE crews this summer.  The first group arrived in early May and is already working with the park’s resource management division, rehabilitating historic woodlots at Culp’s Hill.  Last summer at Gettysburg, an ACE crew treated non-native invasive vegetation and cut brush to help maintain historic Gettysburg landscapes.

“The work done by ACE helps improve the appearance of the Gettysburg battlefield and contributes to our preservation efforts,” said Chris Stein, acting superintendent at Gettysburg National Military Park. “The project also provides an opportunity for youth to engage in shared environmental education and stewardship of our national parks.”

 The newly rebuilt stone walls will be constructed using new material that meets the Secretary of the Interior Standards for Rehabilitation. Archeological testing will be completed prior to installation of missing walls. Existing walls will have metal detection survey work completed prior to the walls being rebuilt.

Gettysburg National Military Park preserves, protects and interprets for this and future generations the resources associated with the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg, during the American Civil War, the Soldiers' National Cemetery, and their commemorations. Learn more at

Bones of Civil War dead found on a battlefield tell their horror stories


Bones of Civil War dead found on a battlefield tell their horror stories
By Michael E. Ruane
June 20
Washington Post

The bullet probably hit the Union soldier as he was fleeing. It may have struck his cartridge box first, which sent it tumbling through the muscle of his right buttock, broke his right leg and buried itself sideways in his thigh bone just below the hip.

His buddies probably carried him as they retreated before the storm of Rebel gun and cannon fire. At the field hospital, the harried surgeons probably took a look at him and moved on to those less seriously wounded.

After he died, he was laid in a shallow pit with a dead comrade and the sawed-off arms and legs of as many as 11 more soldiers cut down at the Civil War’s Second Battle of Bull Run, in August 1862.

On Wednesday the National Park Service announced that archaeologists have found the “limb pit” where the two soldiers and the amputated arms and legs were buried.

The discovery, on the battlefield just north of Manassas, Va., is extraordinary, experts said.

Nothing like it has been found before, and a century and a half after the battle, when a Park Service archaeologist examined the fallen Yankee’s thigh bone, the bullet was still stuck in it.

“As an archaeologist . . . it’s exciting,” said Brandon S. Bies, who brought the bone out of the pit. “As a human being, lifting the leg of an American soldier and holding the bone with the bullet that killed him, it’s an emotional experience.”
Scientifically, it’s “one in a million,” he said. “But for that soldier, it wasn’t a good one in a million. It was the end of his life.”

The two soldiers — referred to as Burial 1, with the embedded bullet, and Burial 2 — were placed side by side in the pit. The severed limbs were carefully arranged next to them, like broken tree branches, according to a photograph from the dig.

Burial 1 probably went in first, because Burial 2 was partially on top of him.

The hole was about a foot deep, and over the years farm plows had carried off the skull of one man and part of the skull of the other.

Anthropologists from the Smithsonian Institution have studied the injuries suffered by the two soldiers and examined the cut marks on the severed limbs made by the surgeons’ saws. There were nine severed legs and two arms in all.

The identities of the soldiers are not known, and their fates were probably a mystery for their families, painful and enduring.

But scientific tests and circumstantial evidence show they were probably Northerners.

The bullet in the leg of Burial 1 was fired from an imported British Enfield rifle musket then commonly used by Confederates, said Bies, now the superintendent of the Manassas National Battlefield Park.

The Burial 1 soldier, who was probably in his 20s, stood about 5 feet 7 inches tall. No clothing was found with him.

The man in Burial 2 was laid to rest in his Union coat — its four eagle-imprinted buttons were found in the pit with him.

He was probably in his 30s, and only about 5-foot-5.

He had been wounded by one large ball that smashed his upper right arm, a smaller one that hit him in the groin and a smaller one that struck near his right shin. Several of the rounds were found in the ground near him.

The Park Service believes the men may have been hit during a doomed Union attack on Aug. 30 against Confederate forces hunkered down in an unfinished railroad cut at the top of a ridge.

“It’s so rare that you have a discovery like this,” said Smithsonian anthropologist Kari Bruwelheide. “You have a burial feature that speaks in so many ways to the events of a battle, but also to the . . . people participating in treating the wounded.”

The cost in lives and limbs was high.

The Second Battle of Bull Run was at that point the largest battle ever in the Western Hemisphere, Bies said, and involved almost 125,000 combatants.

It was fought Aug. 28 through 30, 1862, over much of the same ground as the First Battle of Bull Run a year before.

And the successful Confederate attack near the end “was the largest massed infantry assault on either side of the entire American Civil War,” Bies said.

“It was devastating,” he said. “The Union forces, they didn’t stand a chance.”

Roughly 1,700 Union soldiers and 1,200 Confederates were killed, and a combined total of more than 14,000 were wounded.

Amputation of a broken arm or leg was a common remedy, and surgeons worked feverishly with saws and knives.

Smithsonian anthropologist Douglas Owsley said the surgeon would stand on the wounded man’s right side. If a leg was being removed, the uninjured leg would be tied to the operating table. The soldier would be put to sleep with chloroform or ether. Medical aides might hold the soldier’s hands.

“It starts out with scalpels, and it’s going to ultimately progress to the bone saw,” Owsley said. “A good surgeon can do this in about 10 minutes or less.”

The result, after almost any combat, was the refuse of amputated arms, legs and feet. In one field hospital after Second Bull Run, doctors dropped limbs out a window into a grisly pile.

“It was an awful sight, and one that I have never forgotten,” a Union soldier remembered, according to John J. Hennessy, author of a book about the battle. “It had the appearance of a human slaughterhouse.”

For the man with the fractured leg and the embedded bullet, nothing could be done.

“That surgeon is triaging and he’s seeing who he can help and who he can’t,” Owsley said. “And he literally is going to say this man’s got such a high-up injury that the only way he can deal with it is to take . . . the thigh completely off, and he just can’t do it.”

It’s not clear who buried the soldiers and the limbs, or when. But it’s likely that it happened after the battle.

When the Union army fled, thousands of wounded men were left on the battlefield.

One of them was John S. Slater, an 18-year-old Union corporal from the 13th New York regiment who was hit in the throat and side during the attack on the railroad cut.

Days later, he managed to stagger to a field hospital outside the house of the “Widow Dogan,” he recalled years later. That was probably the Lucinda Dogan house that stands today.

There, in the shade of some trees, “the surgeons were at work at their bloody but merciful trade,” he recalled. He watched as doctors, using a door for an operating table, amputated the right arm of a Union soldier whose elbow had been smashed by an artillery shell.

He had declined anesthesia, Slater recalled, and after the severed arm was placed in a “ghastly heap of shattered limbs,” he asked to see it one more time to bid it farewell.

“He placed it . . . to his lips, kissed it, and saw it no more,” Slater wrote.

 A ‘humbling’ sight

Evidence of the pit was discovered in 2014 during excavation for a utility line but was not fully examined until 2015, the Park Service said.

Initially, tiny bone fragments from the utility digging were taken to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, where they were found to be human.

The Smithsonian’s Bruwelheide assembled pieces of what turned out to be a left thigh bone and noticed that it had been cut, as if in an amputation.

Further excavation was recommended, and the pit was subsequently located. (The agency will not disclose the exact location of the site.)

Additional research might reveal the two soldiers’ names. But identifying the owners of the severed limbs could be easier, because many surgeons kept records of whose arms or legs they were cutting off, the Smithsonian said.

Bies said that many of the men whose limbs were cut off may well have survived the war.

An experienced Civil War archaeologist, Bies was assigned to legislative and congressional affairs for the Park Service at its National Capital Region headquarters in mid-October 2015 when he got a call about some sort of a discovery on the Manassas battlefield.

“It wasn’t so much a ‘Guess what we found,’ as a ‘You’ll never believe what we found,’ ” he said last week, standing under a tree on the quiet field where birds chirped and the wind rustled the leaves.

He hurried through traffic to the site and found a rectangular pit partially exposing what was there.

“It was humbling,” he said. “You could see, standing above that as it was being uncovered, the horrific wounds, the one gentleman’s leg completely obliterated.”

Bies used a metal detector to check for artifacts. “You didn’t want to accidentally nick something,” he said. As he did, he got a hit near the broken leg that he suspected might be a bullet.

The team excavated around the broken leg, leaving it on a kind of pedestal of earth.

Then he gently raised the bone from where it had rested since 1862.

“It wasn’t until it broke loose from the dirt and was lifted into the air that you could tell that the bullet was embedded in the bone,” he said. “We never expected that. Never.”

The two soldiers will be the first burials in the new section of Arlington National Cemetery when it opens this summer. Their coffins will be built with wood from a downed tree taken from the battlefield.

The Park Service said it is still deciding what to do with the limbs.
Michael E. Ruane is a general assignment reporter who also covers Washington institutions and historical topics. He has been a general assignment reporter at the Philadelphia Bulletin, an urban affairs and state feature writer at the Philadelphia Inquirer, and a Pentagon correspondent at Knight Ridder newspapers.  Follow @michaelruane

155th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg ~ Special Events July 1, 2 & 3


155th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg

The three day Battle of Gettysburg marked a turning point not only in the course of the American Civil War, but also for the future of the United States of America. Join Park Rangers and Licensed Battlefield Guides during the 155th Anniversary for a series of free guided walks and talks that discuss, explore, and reflect on this important chapter in our nation’s history.

Daily Ranger Guided Programs: 
Sunday, July 1 - Tuesday, July 3

Battlefield in a Box: An Overview

Lincoln and the Soldiers’ National Cemetery

Care of the Wounded

Family Activities: Sunday, July 1 - Tuesday, July 3


During the 155th Anniversary children of all ages are encouraged to attend our special programs at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center, as well as our Family History Hikes out on the battlefield. (Accompanying adults must remain with children at all times.)

Special Programs In and Around the Visitor Center

Mystery History Guest

Join the Army!

Civil War Storytime!

Family History Hikes (Saturday, June 30 - Tuesday, July 3)

Park Educators will lead these special hour-long programs just for children and their families. Follow in the footsteps of key units and leaders during fighting at Gettysburg and discover the amazing stories of real people who took part in the Battle of Gettysburg.

June 30 - Determination and the Civilians of Gettysburg

July 1 - Leadership and the 6th Wisconsin Infantry

July 2 - Courage and the 12th New Hampshire Infantry

July 3 - Pickett’s Charge!



National Park Records Release


National Park Records Release
by Chris Kolakowski
Emerging Civil War

     The National Park Service this week released decades of park records for public search and use. Their press release reads as follows:

     The National Park Service (NPS) today unveils a newly launched public website: that is making more than 32,000 NPS records available to the public. Academic researchers, students, history enthusiasts, educators, and the like will discover a multitude of collections. For example, the collection contains such important documents as the original drawings of the main immigration building at Ellis Island National Monument, a  concessionaire shop in 1933 at Muir Woods National Monument, and historical documents of Alcatraz Island.

NPS created the site to accommodate the public’s need to access NPS drawings and documents in a convenient, user-friendly, digital way. Users looking to draft historical studies, project planning, or studying natural and cultural resources will now find a plethora of robust resources at their fingertips. “Our collections represent the National Park Service’s commitment to the preservation of unique places and resources held for future generations by documenting our past, present, and anticipated endeavors,” said Ray Todd, Denver Service Center Director. “The public can now easily discover a treasure trove of American history with just a few clicks on their computer keyboard or mobile device.”

The Technical Information Center (TIC) at the NPS Denver Service Center (DSC) is the oldest and largest information system in the National Park Service. TIC is the central repository for proper retention, access, and disposition of NPS records that include drawings, specifications, scientific, and technical reports. The Denver Service Center works closely with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to deposit required NPS records for preservation.

For more details, visit the public eTIC website at 

I spent some time this weekend going through the site, and the search function is easy to use. A lot of old park plans are there, including several 1940 plans for the battlefields which were overtaken by the Second World War.

Over two-thirds of the national parks are historic in nature, covering the colonial period into the 21st Century. This database is an important resource and will no doubt be of much use.