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Caesar: A Slave, ca. 1850. Daguerreotype. New-York Historical Society
This daguerreotype depicts Caesar, an elderly African American believed to have been the very last slave manumitted in New York State.

Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Right Hand of Abraham Lincoln (from 1860 Original by Leonard Wells Volk), 1886. Bronze. New-York Historical Society
This sculpture of Lincoln’s right hand was cast by Saint-Gaudens from an original by Leonard Wells Volk. Volk was the first fine artist for whom Lincoln consented to pose (despite the fact that he was related by marriage to his archrival Stephen A. Douglass).

John Rogers, The Slave Auction, 1859. Painted plaster. New-York Historical Society
With The Slave Auction, one of the first of the mast-produced plaster casts that came to be known as Rogers Groups, John Rogers launched his career as an artist to be reckoned with. But while the piece raised abolitionist consciousness, it was considered too horrific for most genteel parlors and failed commercially.

Thomas Satterwhite Noble, John Brown's Blessing, 1867. Oil on canvas. New-York Historical Society
After his failed attempt to stage a slave uprising and raid on the federal arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, John Brown was quickly tried and sentence to death. This painting depicts a mythical moment in which Brown, moments prior to his execution, gave his blessing to an African American woman and her baby.

Louis Lang, Return of the 69th (Irish) Regiment, N.Y.S.M. from the Seat of War, 1862-1863. Oil on canvas. New-York Historical Society
In the days after the surrender of Fort Sumter, members of New York’s 69th Regiment responded to President Lincoln’s call for volunteers. This painting depicts their triumphant homecoming to lower Manhattan, and is among the largest-scale Civil War paintings ever executed.

Draft wheel (the only to survive New York City's Draft Riots), 1863. New-York Historical Society
This lottery wheel was intended to be used drafting men from the Seventh Congressional District on the Lower East Side. Miraculously, it survived the Draft Riots of 1863, the largest civil insurrection in American history.

Lincoln campaign flag, 1863. New-York Historical Society
This campaign flag was originally inscribed for the Presidential campaign of John Bell and Edward Everett. Their names were cut from the flag and replaced with Abraham Lincoln's and Andrew Johnson's names.

Snare Drum, ca. 1860-1865. New-York Historical Society
This drum was used during the Civil War by Philip Correll, who joined the 99th New York Volunteer Infantry at a mere 14 years old.

Thomas Fitch Rowland, Half Model of the U.S.S. Monitor, 1862. New-York Historical Society
This half-model depicts the U. S. S. Monitor, the first ironclad naval vessel with a revolving gun turret. Revolutionizing marine warfare at the time, the Monitor became renowned when it fought the C. S. S. Virginia to a standstill on March 9, 1862 at Hampton Roads, Virginia in one of history's most significant naval battles.

Victor Nehlig, An Episode of the War—the Cavalry Charge of Lt. Henry B. Hidden, 1862. Oil on canvas. New-York Historical Society
On March 9, 1862, twenty-four-year-old Lieutenant Henry B. Hidden was shot in the neck during a skirmish with Confederate soldiers and died soon afterward. Hidden is believed to be the first Union officer killed in the Civil War.

Civil War Footlocker with Belongings, 1860-1890. New-York Historical Society
This military footlocker, fully stocked with living supplies, gear, and souvenirs, belonged to William H. Paine (1828-1890) of the 4th Wisconsin, a mapmaker who served with the Army of the Potomac through the entire war.

Francis Carpenter, The Lincoln Family in 1861, ca. 1865. New-York Historical Society
During his residence in the White House, painter Francis Carpenter found the beleaguered war president’s tenderness with this family poignant.

Harold Holzer has written or edited more than 40 books on Lincoln and the Civil War, including History of the Civil War in 50 Objects. He is a Roger Hertog Fellow at the New-York Historical Society.

Creative: Tronvig Group