Big News for Civil War Bluejackets!

Professor David Gleeson has been awarded a major Research Grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council UK for Civil War Bluejackets: Race, Class and Ethnicity in the United States Navy, 1861-1865 (CWB) to go well beyond this initial pilot study and transcribe all the Civil War US Navy Muster rolls. In collaboration with University of Sheffield Information Scientists, Dr Morgan Harvey and Dr Frank Hopfgartner, the project will use the publicly available rolls, which included information such as name, age, and place of birth, and other records, such as pension files, in innovative ways to provide a new history of the 118,000 or so sailors (30 percent of whom were British or Irish (see, for example, this pilot study blog post), and c.15 percent were African American). Working with project partners, the Cooperative Institute for Climate, Ocean & Ecosystem Studies (CICOES) and the US Naval Academy Museum, CWB will produce a new crowdsourced Civil War Sailor Internet Resource to promote research in the history of sailors, the Civil War, and the social history of the 19th century. The resource will also be useful for those interested in family history, particularly African American genealogists, because many of the formerly enslaved first appeared in their own right with full names on ship musters as they claimed equality through naval service (see, for example, this pilot study blog post). CWB will provide a mass analysis of all digitised sailor data, opening research avenues that simply are not possible through traditional direct archival research. Along with historians, project outcomes will also benefit many scholars working on information retrieval, digital archives, and the wider digital humanities. The project begins in March 2022 and culminates with final conference at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, in February 2025. In light of this great news, we’ll be revamping the webpage over the next few months in preparation for the project launch next March. Check back with us but also keep up with updates on Twitter @BluejacketsWar.

One response to “Big News for Civil War Bluejackets!”

  1. I am the author of Bluejackets: Uniforms of the United States Navy in the Civil War Period 1861 – 1865 (Schiffer 2010) plus many articles in Civil War Navy – The Magazine. Your project is most welcome.


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