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Shelly Angers, N.H. Department of Cultural Resources
(603) 271-3136
Twitter: @NHCulture

N.H. and the Civil War: increased mill production, social reform songs

As part of New Hampshire’s “May is Preservation Month” observation, the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources is publishing a series of articles exploring the Granite State’s involvement in the Civil War.

This week, the focus is on both the growth of industry and social reform.

By the mid-1800s, manufacturing was already a growing presence in New Hampshire’s towns and cities. During the Civil War, mills increased production of woolen blankets and clothing and other war supplies as demand on the front lines rose. More workers went to work at the mills, turning villages into towns and towns into cities. As a result of this increased production, the state’s rural populations were dramatically reduced, forever changing the landscape.

A wide variety of social reforms – most notably the anti-slavery movement – swept both the state and the nation during this time. The Hutchinson Family Singers, part of a family of sixteen children from Milford, began giving concerts in the 1840s. By the 1860s, their songs about abolition, temperance and women’s rights were known throughout the country. Even today, they are considered an important influence both musically and socially.

To see images and learn more about the changes in New Hampshire’s industries and the impact of social reform movements during the Civil War, visit and click on the “May is Preservation Month” link in the “Quick Links” box on the right. Databases related to New Hampshire regiments during the Civil War, including calendars related to regiment activity, are available at

New Hampshire's Division of Historical Resources, the “State Historic Preservation Office,” was established in 1974. The historical, archeological, architectural, engineering and cultural resources of New Hampshire are among the most important environmental assets of the state. Historic preservation promotes the use, understanding and conservation of such resources for the education, inspiration, pleasure and enrichment of New Hampshire’s citizens. For more information, visit us online at or by calling (603) 271-3483.

New Hampshire’s Department of Cultural Resources includes the State Council on the Arts, the Film and Television Office, the Division of Historical Resources, the State Library and the Commission on Native American Affairs. The Department strives to nurture the cultural well-being of our state. From the covered bridges and traditional music of our past to the avant-garde performances and technological resources of today and tomorrow, New Hampshire’s culture is as varied as its geography and its people. This strong cultural base—which truly has something for everyone—attracts businesses looking for engaged workforces, provides outstanding educational opportunities and creates communities worth living in. Learn more at




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