The Purchase by Blood: Massachusetts in the Civil War, 1861-1862
October 7, 2011 - January 13, 2012
Following the surrender of Fort Sumter on April 13, 1861, Northerners rallied behind President Lincoln’s call for states to send troops to preserve the Union. Opening October 7, the Massachusetts Historical Society’s exhibition The Purchase by Blood: Massachusetts in the Civil War, 1861-1862 follows a small group of officers—husbands, brothers, and friends of the first families of Massachusetts—through the first years of the Civil War. These young men, like so many, wanted to feel the glory of combat and enlisted with a sense of adventure and unquestioning patriotism. Not anticipated was the bloody aftermath of early conflicts—the Battle of Ball’s Bluff, the Seven Days Battle, the Battle of Cedar Mountain, the Battle of Antietam—and the horrifying loss of life and optimism. This exhibition showcases letters, photographs, broadsides, journals, and art work surrounding one group of men as the price of war is brought home to Massachusetts.