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The Civil War goes digital in Castleton

CASTLETON-A seemingly daunting project was accomplished handily and professionally by a group of Castleton State College history faculty and students. The project: bring the Town of Castleton's Civil War enrollment record into the 21st century.

In tandem with the college's library staff, the team digitized the town's Civil War enrollment roster. After completing the transition from paper to electrons, the students created a unique website titled "Conscripting Castleton: The Draft in a Northern Community During the Civil War."

The idea to digitize the roster of soldiers dates back to 2007.

Four years ago, the college library became the owner of a rare and valuable 50-page, hand-scribbled roster. It was the Vermont town's only official record of the eligibility of local men for service in the U.S. Army.

Enter CSC Professor Andre Fleche.

Fleche, a Civil War scholar, got his history students involved. Brianna Gagne and Jake Richards helped their professor transcribe the fragile document, which-even inEnglish-was difficult to read.

According to Fleche, "The roster identifies more than 200 Castleton-area residents who served in the Union armies and all the military-aged men who lived in town, including those who were drafted, died, paid commutations, or relocated. This website will interest scholars, genealogists, and anyone interested in local history or the Civil War."

With the help of library staffers the actual pages were scanned, so that visitors to the website can view both the original document and the modern, more readable version.

Library director Sandy Duling said, "It's often assumed that only major university libraries will undertake digitization projects. The Castleton roster demonstrates that even small libraries can make significant contributions to the preservation and distribution of our historical record." Fleche said more information about the local area during the Civil War will be added to the website in coming months.

Check It Out:To view Castleton CivilWar roster, visit the website www.castleton.edu/library/civil_war_roster.

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