Mourning rings like the one pictured were crafted by Confederate prisoners, often to barter. Women also wore the rings to respect or mourn for someone in the war. Photo courtesy of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

Editor’s note: For Carolina Public Press news coverage related to the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, read our story about challenges historians face documenting Western North Carolina’s Civil War monuments.

Press release from the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, shared Oct. 26:

RALEIGH — Heroic tales and valiant feats are depicted in images that reflect North Carolina’s dedication to the war in the “Freedom, Sacrifice, Memory: Civil War Sesquicentennial Photography Exhibit” ( Transylvania County Public Library in Brevard will host the exhibit from Nov. 1-29, sharing images and stories that capture the history and people of the Civil War (1861-1865).

“The Civil War was the first war widely covered with photography,” explains Deputy Secretary Jeffrey Crow of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. “The ‘Freedom, Sacrifice, Memory’ exhibit provides images of historic figures, artifacts, and documents that brought the reality of the war from the battlefront to the home front, then and now.” The exhibit keeps the history of the war alive through memory, and its value to the education of the significance of this war in American history is central.

The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources will display 24 images from the State Archives (, the N.C. Museum of History ( and State Historic Sites ( Between April 2011 and May 2013, 50 libraries will showcase “Freedom, Sacrifice, Memory” offering visuals that present gallant women, African-American triumph and the perseverance of Confederate soldiers. A notebook will accompany the exhibit with further information and seeking viewer comments.

Confederate prisoners crafted mourning rings like the one pictured here, often using them as barter. Women also wore the rings to pay respect to or mourn someone in the war. Photo courtesy of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

One of the images portrays a mourning ring, which were often made by Confederate prisoners of war using buttons from their clothes, and then sold in the prison camps or sent home to a loved one. These rings symbolized the remembrance of the Confederate soldiers by their loved ones at home.

For information on the exhibit, call the Transylvania library at (828) 884-3151. For information on the statewide tour, call (919) 807-7389.

About the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources

The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources annually serves more than 19 million people through its 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, the nation’s first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the N.C. Arts Council, and the State Archives. Cultural Resources champions North Carolina’s creative industry, which employs nearly 300,000 North Carolinians and contributes more than $41 billion to the state’s economy. To learn more, visit

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Kathleen O'Nan is a contributing reporter to Carolina Public Press.

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