Songs of Glory, Songs of Sorrow

The Civil War in Music


The American Civil War remains the most devastating war in United States history, with deaths numbering about 618,000–more than in all the nation’s other wars combined, from the Revolutionary War through the Iraq War. This exhibit features sheet music and broadside verse expressing the triumphs and tragedies of the war’s battles, grieving mothers, soldier boys, flags, military officers, and even humor. Themes specific to the Civil War yet universal to all armed conflicts remind us of the high cost paid when peaceful solutions and diplomacy fail to win the day.