Civil War Research Menu
Photographs and Other Images
Many Civil War-era images can be found in the Collections Online database. Among them are images of prominent figures of the period:
The Whitney Collection (Reserve Album 37) contains studio portraits in the style known as "carte-de-visite": small portraits, usually 4 x 2 1/2 inches, popular in the middle of the 19th century as calling cards and souvenirs. This collection includes images of many Minnesota soldiers made at the Whitney Gallery in St. Paul. Its inventory is arranged by regiment, company, and name of individual. You can find duplicates of these images in the portrait collection via the portrait catalog under the name of the individual.
The Society's Fine Arts Collection contains other Civil War images as well as graphic depictions of the Dakota Conflict. The paintings of Minnesota regiments that hang in the State Capitol and some of the other images are available as poster reproductions. Others are available as copy photographic prints, slides, or color transparencies.
The Minnesota Historical Society preserves nearly 1,000 objects relating to the Civil War and the U.S.-Dakota War. The collection represents all branches of service, and includes items from non-Minnesota Federal units and Confederate forces. Pieces range from firearms and swords, to uniforms, to personal equipment. Many of the objects are identified to specific individuals or military units.
- Battle flag of the 28th Virginia Regiment captured by the 1st Minnesota Regiment at Gettysburg
- Frock coat worn by a member of the 1st Minnesota Regiment
- Sword carried by Colonel Henry C. Lester of the 3rd Minnesota Regiment
- Surgical instruments used by the surgeon of the 5th Minnesota Regiment
- Log mortar used by the 7th Minnesota Regiment
- Body armor privately purchased by an officer with the Quartermaster’s Department
- Ship’s wheel and bell of the USS Minnesota – a witness to the battle between the ironclads USS Monitor and CSS Virginia.
- Collection of 58 battle flags representing Minnesota Regiments in the Civil and Spanish-American Wars.
The objects in the Civil War collection represent a sample of the variety of items accessible through the growing Collections Online database.
To see Museum Collections objects, contact the department at (651) 296-8071.