The Hour of Conflict

On April 13, 2012 the Litchfield Historical Society opened its latest exhibition The Hour of Conflict with a members-only opening reception. The exhibit examined the ways in which the American Civil War impacted the residents of Litchfield, Connecticut in the 1860s.

Although no major battles occured in Connecticut, local Litchfield families were directly affected by the events of the Civil War. Men departed town to enlist in the Union army, leaving their families behind to worry and wonder, waiting for a letter to make its way from a campground or battlefield. Women spent their time sewing clothing, wrapping bandages, and sending packages to their loved ones on the front lines. How did Litchfield families deal with the anxiety of war? How did they mourn, celebrate and cope?

The Litchfield Historical Society invited visitors and families of all ages to examine these questions through letters, diaries, photographs, and artifacts from the Historical Society's collections. Articles carried by local soldiers, everyday objects used by Litchfield's children, and items related to Dr. Josiah Gale Beckwith and the Litchfield Peace Movement were just some of the collection pieces that were highlighted. Visitors also had the chance to view Civil War uniforms thanks to the Museum of Connecticut History and the Cornwall Historical Society.

The exhibit incorporated hands-on activities and the opportunity to experience camp life as Litchfield's men did more than a century and a half ago. Students of the Litchfield Montessori School acted as Junior Curators to research, design, and create a special portion of the exhibition.

The exhibit was on display from April 13, 2012 through December 1, 2013.