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Civil War Artifacts Come to Life in Springfield

Civil war letters

SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WGGB) — A piece of civil war history is coming to life in Springfield. History officials launched a website Thursday featuring a digitized trove of civil war letters and narratives. 

They are all from the Massachusetts 31st Volunteer Infantry, which spent much of the war occupying New Orleans. About a thousand of the men in that unit were from western Massachusetts.

Now, countless diaries and war stories are online so all can reflect on their journeys.

“You’ve got guys on hi-jinx stealing barrels of whiskey from the settler, you’ve got guys who are afraid and want to get out of battle, and you’ve got guys who are very heroic, who will do anything to save their friend’s lives,” project contributor Stan Prager said. “It’s a real mix but yeah it’s been very emotional the whole thing.”

“We felt it was our responsibility, almost our duty, having found these and having them been compiled nearly 100 years ago,” Archivist Cliff McCarthy said. “We felt it was important to get these words out there. Their voices have been in boxes all this time.”

Organizers say the now public writings will allow others to get a true sense of what these soldiers endured.

For more on the documents, you can visit springfieldmuseums.org

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