Brooklyn in the Civil War
Soldiers Women Slavery Daily Life
interactive map timeline games documents lesson plans books & websites glossary

War Between the States

Life in Brooklyn in the Civil War

The American Civil War changed the course of United States history. President Abraham Lincoln and the army preserved the Union, and slavery ended in the South, but not without the most destructive and deadly conflict ever experienced on United States soil. More than 620,000 Union and Confederate soldiers died during the war, which started in April 1861 and ended four years later in April 1865 with General Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox.

In the mid-19th Century Brooklyn was expanding rapidly, however the surrounding towns were largely rural farmland.  By the start of the Civil War, the population of the City of Brooklyn was the third largest in America, after New York City and Philadelphia.  Brooklyn continued to grow, eventually annexing all the towns of Kings County.  In 1898, with Consolidation, the City of Brooklyn became the Borough of Brooklyn of the City of New York.

Brooklyn played an important role in the Civil War. Its contribution included thousands of soldiers for the battlefield, money for supplies raised by women at the 1864 Sanitary Fair, the first ironclad war ship called the Monitor, and the Brooklyn Daily Eagle which reported to the world the news from the front lines.

This Web site explores Brooklyn during the Civil War by presenting primary source documents — photographs, letters, newspaper articles, illustrations, and more — that show what life was like during this period. At the top of each page are links to the four main themes and a page listing all the documents, an interactive map and timeline, games, books and Web sites about the Civil War, a glossary, and lesson plans for teachers. At the bottom of each page are links to information about this project created by the Brooklyn Public Library’s Brooklyn Collection, an online survey, and the Brooklyn Daily Eagle Online, 1841-1902, a searchable repository of Brooklyn’s newspaper of record.


Interactive Map


The site is divided into four main themes which can be explored through these links:

About the Project | Feedback | Brooklyn Collection | Brooklyn Daily Eagle Online
This project is supported by Federal Library Services and Technology Act funds, awarded to The New York State Library by the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services.