FROM THE BATTLEFIELDS OF THE CIVIL WAR
TO THE SHORES OF PUGET SOUND
TAKE A JOURNEY INTO SEATTLE'S PAST
Thousands of Civil war veterans and their families made Washington State their home in the decades after the Civil War. More than 3,000 of them settled in Seattle and surrounding communities. These former soldiers of the Blue and Gray brought more than their families and ambitions with them. The legacy and memory of their Civil War experiences are deeply woven into Seattle’s cultural and historical fabric. These men and their families became an important part of Seattle’s pioneering generations after the conflict.
They served as leaders in government, business and society. Many of Seattle’s mayors, judges, lawyers, doctors, business leaders, engineers, and religious leaders came from among the Civil War veterans. Postmasters, shopkeepers, sign painters, teamsters, real estate dealers, railroad men and vaudeville performers. An Olympic Gold Medalist and a world champion wrestler. These same men had charged into the Crater at Petersburg, fought fiercely at Gettysburg, Marched to the Sea with Sherman, knew Abraham Lincoln, languished at Andersonville prison or escaped lives of slavery to fight for their freedom. The individual and collective stories of Seattle’s Civil War veterans are practically endless.
These veterans had tremendous pride in their Civil War service. As a prominent and organized community of veterans, they were deeply passionate about their history and perpetuating the memory of it. Seattle’s historic cemeteries are filled with an incredibly diverse array of Civil War soldiers, men who represent nearly every battle, campaign or aspect of the war. The impact of their time here can be seen all throughout our city to this day.
Once a very prominent part of Seattle’s world during their lifetimes, the memory of Seattle’s Civil War veterans has long since faded. Civil War Seattle is dedicated to sharing this important and interesting Seattle history with our community and visitors to Seattle.
Civil War Seattle (originally known as Seattle's Civil War Legacy) was established in 2020 as a public history entity by Seattle resident and lifelong Civil War student Richard Heisler. Civil War Seattle’s work involves social media/digital history, walking tours of Seattle cemeteries and historic neighborhoods, written work and talks/presentations. Civil War Seattle has been featured in the Seattle Times, KIRO Radio, Emerging Civil War and others. Civil War Seattle has worked with and presented to organizations such as the Bothell Historical Museum, Puget Sound Civil War Round Table, Pacific Northwest Historians Guild and more.
I had the privilege of attending one of Richard's tours of the Bothell Pioneer Cemetery. It was an engaging, lively presentation, full of enough trivia for history nerds and interesting storytelling for everyone else! Highly recommend!
Lisa Oberg - President, Pacific Northwest historians Guild