By the end of 1862, Massachusetts had lost a great number of men to the war effort. As a result, President Abraham Lincoln and Gov. John A. Andrew continued to recruit for the "rescue and defense" of the country. The war was long and gruelling, but as a result of sacrifice, freedom was purchased by blood.
After the Union claimed victory at Antietam in September 1862, President Lincoln, who had been waiting since July for such an opportunity, made a preliminary announcement of his Emancipation Proclamation, signifying a major shift in Northern war aims. To some degree, emancipation was a pragmatic attempt to use former slaves against the Confederacy, but the North also needed a cause of the highest moral caliber to justify the sacrifices that would be necessary as it remobilized for a longer and bloodier “hard war."
Exhibition: October 2011 to January 2012
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.
MHS Commemorates the Civil War
The Massachusetts Historical Society is recognizing the 150th anniversary of the Civil War with online presentations of manuscripts and photographs selected from its collections, as well as programs, exhibitions, and educational materials. Visit our subject hub.