How the Civil War has influenced my life

By Nils Skudra

I have been interested in the American Civil War from approximately five years old, and at this time I began to draw a great many pictures of historical scenes, primarily detailing that particular conflict and era. I also developed an interest in the American Revolution, World War I, the Russian Revolution, the rise of Italian fascism, and World War II and drew pictures pertaining to those historical events.


This past December I graduated from UC Berkeley with my BA in History and a minor in Theater/Performing Arts. It has always been my dream to become a Civil War historian, and I made haste to apply to numerous MA and Ph.D. programs across the United States. I was recently notified that I had been accepted to four different MA programs in History and am in the process of trying to decide which of those offers to accept.


It is my ultimate intention to specialize in the Civil War/Reconstruction period as a graduate student. My fervent desire is to someday teach history at the college/university level or, alternatively, work in the field of historical research, historic park service or in a historical museum. Concomitantly I also hope to have a continuing career in community theater and am proud to state that I am currently in a production with Actors Ensemble of Berkeley, and the preview performance takes place tonight.


When I was approximately ten years old, I was diagnosed by a developmental pediatrician with Asperger’s Syndrome and a sensory integration disorder. As a person on the spectrum, I often find that social interactions can be somewhat difficult or challenging for me, as well as interpreting social cues. I keep to myself much of the time, often saying very little. It is hard for me to share discomforting thoughts that are on my mind, and I have faced numerous barriers as a person on the spectrum, including bullying by other students in grade school and an underestimation by professionals of my abilities. Nonetheless, I have been fortunate to have many close friendships with people who are both neurodiverse and “normal,” and I am grateful that they love and care for me.


I continue to draw pictures of Civil War scenes and occasionally images that depict other historical events. I find a great deal of comfort and solace in those artistic efforts and am gratified that others enjoy them as well. I have had my drawings shown in six galleries in California: Children’s Hospital Oakland, Berkeley Hall of Health, Merced Multicultural Arts Center, the Albany Library and Community Center, UC Merced’s library, and the Fresno Civil War reenactment. Additionally, private individuals have purchased these prints from time to time, and many others have encouraged me to publish them in a book form.


I wish to increase exposure to my artwork on sites such as this, and I have started an account on the Etsy website for the purpose of hopefully attracting buyers to my drawings.

It is my intent to utilize any moneys gained by the sales of my artwork to finance my tuition for my upcoming MA program expenses. I come from a financially challenged single-parent family who is not able to afford the expense of tuition, combined with the heavy expenses of relocation. The opportunity to pursue graduate studies in my chosen and beloved field of studies is nothing less than the culmination of a lifelong dream. I would be forever grateful to individuals who purchase my work and help me towards paying tuition for my MA program.



Nils Skudra’s passions are the civil war, drama, and art. He is seeking financial support to attend a Master’s or PHd program in History. He has been accepted into two programs in North Carolina which is close to the Revolutionary War battlefield site. Nils has hundreds of drawings of the Civil War he has been drawing since the age of five. He wants to sell framed prints to help finance his education. If interested in purchasing prints or originals of Nils drawings contact Nils at

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