civil war

Connecticut & the Civil War:
A Sesquicentennial Commemoration

The Connecticut 150th Civil War Commemoration has been in planning since 2008. The effort has been led by Central Connecticut State University and the Connecticut Civil War Commemoration Committee (made up of over 70 partner organizations), as well as the Connecticut Civil War Commemoration Commission (created by Governor Jodi Rell in 2010).

This website is the state's gateway to Civil War Commemoration events. Throughout the Commemoration period, from 2011-2015, Connecticut will be home to a host of living history events, talks, conferences, exhibits, and much more. We encourage all residents to become a part of this history, as it is a part of all of us.

Beyond those who served, Connecticut offered its industrial capacity, especially its arms industry, which was instrumental to the North's success. The state was home to such notables as Colt, Sharps, the Collinsville Company, as well as Hotchkiss & Sons, which produced artillery and shells, the Hazard Gun Powder Factory, and many more war related industries. State industry also produced a wide variety of non-lethal items, from brass insignia to rubber tents and raincoats, and many textiles.

Connecticut women made the war possible by acquiring and shipping every kind of item to the front lines, so that the soldiers would not do without. Women met every train that returned home, often loaded with wounded and dead soldiers.

Yet there was also considerable opposition within Connecticut to both the war and the Lincoln administration. The state was hardly united in its devotion to the Union, and political battles during the war were fierce and closely contested.

The issues of slavery and race also besieged Connecticut's people. The famed abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison once referred to the state as the "Georgia of New England" because of its rampant hostility to abolitionists. That is not to say that abolitionism failed to exist. Here, again, Connecticut was divided and the issues that strained the nation also echoed through the streets of towns and cities throughout the state.

The Purpose of Commemoration

There is both a grand and troubling history in the Civil War, one that requires consideration and reflection. That is what a commemoration is meant to do. It is not a celebration. It is a remembrance. In that sense, we have chosen as our focus a simple yet poignant statement:

"That the Generations to Come Might Know Them."


This quote has been chiseled into granite since 1866, on the Northfield Civil War Monument in Litchfield, Connecticut, and speaks to the ages. The war exacted a heavy toll on the men and women of Connecticut, and the Northfield Monument begs us to remember.

A Special Thanks

There are number of organizations that have provided financial support for the Commemoration. In these tight economic times, their generosity and our appreciation is that much greater.

  • Travelers Foundation
  • The Connecticut Humanities Council
  • Bill McCue
  • The Berlin and New Britain Lions Clubs
  • The Connecticut State University Foundation
  • Central Connecticut State University
  • The CCSU Alumni Association
  • CCSU Foundation
  • Provost's Office
  • The Carol A. Ammon School of Arts & Sciences
  • The Center for Public Policy and Social Research
  • CCSU History Department

For additional information on any aspect of the Commemoration, contact:

Coordinator: Matthew Warshauer, Ph.D.
Professor of History, CCSU
Editor, Connecticut History
(860) 832-2803 -


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