N.H. and the Civil War: The homefront

As part of New Hampshire’s “May is Preservation Month” observation, the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources is publishing a series of articles exploring the Granite State’s involvement in the Civil War. Throughout the month, Sunapee News will post article highlights with links and images.

This week, the focus is on both the growth of industry and social reform: The Homefront

Part of the mill complex in Harrisville today, listed as a National Historic Landmark in 1977. From the collection of the NH Division of Historical Resources, Concord.

By the mid-1800s, manufacturing was already a growing presence in New Hampshire’s towns and cities.

During the Civil War, mills increased production of woolen blankets and clothing and other war supplies as demand on the front lines rose.

More workers went to work at the mills, turning villages into towns and towns into cities. As a result of this increased production, the state’s rural populations were dramatically reduced, forever changing the landscape.

Read about Harrisville, a village whose existence has always been tied to the ups, downs, and history of the woolen industry, and how it benefited from the war’s demand for woolen cloth.

Social Reform

A wide variety of social reforms – most notably the anti-slavery movement – swept both the state and the nation during this time.

The Hutchinson Family Singers, part of a family of sixteen children from Milford, began giving concerts in the 1840s. By the 1860s, their songs about abolition, temperance and women’s rights were known throughout the country. Even today, they are considered an important influence both musically and socially.

>>For more about the state’s industry growth and social reforms during the Civil War, visit NH-DHR: May is Preservation Month.

>> For N.H. Civil War Calendars and Databases, visit the division’s page: N.H. Civil War

The N.H. Division of Historical Resources, the “State Historic Preservation Office,” was established in 1974. The historical, archeological, architectural, engineering and cultural resources of New Hampshire are among the most important environmental assets of the state. Historic preservation promotes the use, understanding and conservation of such resources for the education, inspiration, pleasure and enrichment of New Hampshire’s citizens. For more information, visit www.nh.gov/nhdhr or by calling (603) 271-3483.

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