Introduction: "Massachusetts at last has found her voice"

By Elaine Grublin

Letter from Charles Sumner to John A. Andrew, 8 January 1861

Letter from Charles Sumner to John A. Andrew, 8 January 1861

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    On 8 January 1861, as the nation anxiously waited to see if civil war would come, Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner wrote to newly inaugurated Governor John A. Andrew, "Massachusetts at last has found her voice." To Sumner, Andrew was that voice, demonstrated in his powerful inaugural address delivered in the Massachusetts State House three days before, on 5 January.

    Sumner's letter is just one example from a variety of documents (including letters, diaries and artwork) in which soldiers, civic leaders, women, politicians, children, and Massachusetts citizens from all walks of life found their voices during the tumultuous years of the Civil War.