A new exhibit exploring Minnesota’s role in the Civil War opens today (SAT) at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul. “Minnesota and the Civil War” features artifacts as well as first-hand accounts from letters, diaries and memoirs of Minnesotans during the war. The exhibit draws heavily on Minnesota Historical Society collections. The Civil War was not fought on Minnesota soil. But Minnesota was the first state to answer President Abraham Lincoln’s call for volunteer regiments to defend the Union. Minnesota sent 25,000 men to war, about half of the state’s eligible male population at the time. Also serving were more than 100 black men, a number of American Indians and at least one woman. Minnesotans also played a pivotal role at the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863. The new exhibit runs through September 8th.