The Civil War in the Ohioana Archives

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JMooreCWletter1In addition to numerous books about the Civil War, Ohioana’s collection includes several archival items. This letter from Joseph Moore to his father describes the difficult conditions he encountered as he traveled from Atlanta late in 1864, fought in the Battle of Nashville, and traveled on through Cincinnati and Columbus before arriving in Washington in early 1865.

The collection also includes a notebook owned by William J. Knight describing his participation in Andrews’s Raid. In April 1862, civilian scout James J. Andrews, another civilian, and a team of volunteers from the 2nd, 21st, and 33rd Ohio Infantry regiments hijacked a train on the Western and Atlantic Railroad as it made its regular run from Atlanta to Chattanooga. Their goal was to destroy telegraph wire, bridges, and track behind them, thereby crippling the Confederate Army’s ability to send supplies to Chattanooga. However, the raiders were unable to cause permanent damage to the track and abandoned the train when it ran out of fuel just south of the Tennessee state line. All the raiders were captured by the Confederacy within two weeks, and eight (including Andrews) were hanged. Eight others (including Knight) escaped. The remaining raiders were eventually exchanged for Confederate prisoners of war in 1863.WKnightNBcomb

Six members of Andrews’s Raiders were honored in the very first Medal of Honor ceremony on March 25, 1863. Although Knight was not part of this first group, he received a Medal of Honor for his role in the raid on September 17, 1863.

Local History in the Ohioana Archives

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In observance of National Archives Month and Columbus Day, we’re featuring this program from the “Columbian Centennial Celebration of the Discovery of America,” which was held on October 21, 1892 in Columbus. The celebration was sponsored by the Board of Education; in addition to the program for the evening, the booklet includes lists of board members, departments, schools, teachers, and staff.ColCennCover

The cover is signed “Zaner” in the lower left corner, indicating that it may be the work of Charles Paxton Zaner, founder of the Zanerian College of Penmanship in Columbus (later known as the Zaner-Bloser Company). He authored many of the texts used at the college, created new instructional models, and was described as “the world’s best all-around penman.”ColCennTitle

The program was printed by Nitschke Brothers, another Columbus company.ColCennPressCropped

Other items in Ohioana’s archival collection that relate to local history throughout the state include correspondence describing daily life (some dating back to the 1700s), advertising and other ephemera related to local businesses, church histories, and approximately 50 scrapbooks focused on state and county history.

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