Hoover Library Introduces First of Two Civil War Exhibits

Currently on display through March 30 in the foyer of Hoover Library is an exhibit of Civil War artifacts. “The Battle of the Merrimack and Monitor” is the first of two exhibits this semester that will serve to highlight the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

The exhibit takes a look at the Battle of the Merrimack and Monitor by displaying illustrations from newspapers printed during the Civil War that were reproduced in books in the 1890’s. The exhibit also features Confederate script or money from 1862. All of the artifacts on display come from Hoover Library’s own archives.

Formally known as the Battle of Hampton Roads, the Battle of the Merrimack and Monitor is arguably the most important naval battle of the Civil War and is the first example of ironclad ships in combat. The battle took place on March 8 and 9, 1862.

Of course, the significance of the Civil War goes far beyond the Battle of the Merrimack and Monitor.

“I think the Civil War has relevance to everybody today,” says Hoover Library Archivist and exhibit curator Barbara O’Brien. “You know, this was a fight that really defined our country. Until this, I don’t know if you could truly call us the United Sates.” After the War of 1812, the United States was going in various directions, with different states doing different things, she says.

More Civil War artifacts will be on display in the coming months. In April, Hoover Library will exhibit a sword that purportedly belonged to George Washington Sandow, the first Union soldier killed at Gettysburg, which is on loan to McDaniel’s history department. Also, a Pennsylvania newspaper dated just days before the Battle of Gettysburg will be on display next year.

For more information on the Civil War exhibits or the Hoover Library archives, contact Barbara O’Brien at bobrien@mcdaniel.edu.