American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was
the greatest war in American history. 3 million fought - 600,000 paid the ultimate price for freedom. And a war for freedom
it was. The desire for freedom traveled deeper than the color of skin and farther than the borders of any state.
There are hundreds
of thousands of pages of information available through this site. Peruse the Official Record of the war, check out the Battle
Map, or view the largest collection of Civil War photos available online.
"War is sorrowful, but there
is one thing infinitely more horrible than the worst horrors of war, and that is the feeling that nothing is worth fighting
-- Harper's Weekly, December
"...I know that the Lord
is always on the side of the right; but it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation may be on the Lord's side."
-- Abraham Lincoln
The first general order
issued by the Father of his Country after the Declaration of Independence indicates the spirit in which our institutions were
founded and should ever be defended: "The general hopes and trusts that every officer and man will endeavor to live and act
as becomes a Christian soldier defending the dearest rights and liberties of his country."
-- Abraham Lincoln
"We are not fighting for
slavery. We are fighting for Independence, and that, or extermination."
-- Jefferson Davis
"If ye love wealth greater
than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek
not your counsel, nor your arms."
-- Samuel Adams
"What is it that gentlemen
wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?"
-- Patrick Henry
Recommended Viewing: The Civil War - A Film by Ken Burns. Review: The
Civil War - A Film by Ken Burns is the most successful public-television miniseries in American history. The 11-hour Civil War didn't just captivate a nation,
reteaching to us our history in narrative terms; it actually also invented a new film language taken from its creator. When
people describe documentaries using the "Ken Burns approach," its style is understood: voice-over narrators reading letters
and documents dramatically and stating the writer's name at their conclusion, fresh live footage of places juxtaposed with
still images (photographs, paintings, maps, prints), anecdotal interviews, and romantic musical scores taken from the era
he depicts. Continued below...
The Civil War uses all of these devices to evoke atmosphere and resurrect an event that many knew
only from stale history books. While Burns is a historian, a researcher, and a documentarian, he's above all a gifted storyteller,
and it's his narrative powers that give this chronicle its beauty, overwhelming emotion, and devastating horror. Using the
words of old letters, eloquently read by a variety of celebrities, the stories of historians like Shelby Foote and rare, stained
photos, Burns allows us not only to relearn and finally understand our history, but also to feel and experience it. "Hailed
as a film masterpiece and landmark in historical storytelling." "[S]hould be a requirement for every
Recommended Reading: The
History Buff's Guide to the Civil War (400 pages). Description:
Exploring the Civil War can be fascinating, but with so many battles, leaders, issues, and more than 50,000 books on these
subjects, the task can also be overwhelming. Was Gettysburg the most important battle? Were Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson
Davis so different from each other? How accurate is re-enacting? Who were the worst commanding generals? Thomas R. Flagel
uses annotated lists organized under more than thirty headings to see through the powder smoke and straighten Sherman’s
neckties, ranking and clarifying the best, the worst, the largest, and the most lethal aspects of the conflict. Continued
Major sections are fashioned around the following topics:
• Antebellum: Investigates the critical years before the war, in particular
the growing crises, extremists, and slavery.
• Politics: Contrasts the respective presidents and constitutions
of the Union and Confederacy, the most prominent politicians, and the most volatile issues of the times.
• Military Life: Offers insights into the world of the common soldiers,
how they fought, what they ate, how they were organized, what they saw, how they lived, and how they died.
• The Home Front: Looks at the fastest growing field in Civil War
research, including immigration, societal changes, hardships and shortages, dissent, and violence far from the firing lines.
• In Retrospect: Ranks the heroes and heroines, greatest victories
and failures, firsts and worsts.
• Pursuing the War: Summarizes Civil War study today, including films,
battlefield sites, books, genealogy, re-enactments, restoration, preservation, and other ventures.
From the antebellum years to Appomattox and beyond, The History Buff’s
Guide to the Civil War is a quick and compelling guide to one of the most complex and critical eras in American history.
Hardtack & Coffee or The Unwritten Story of Army Life. Description: Most histories of the Civil War focus on battles and top brass. Hardtack and Coffee
is one of the few to give a vivid, detailed picture of what ordinary soldiers endured every day—in camp, on the march,
at the edge of a booming, smoking hell. John D. Billings of Massachusetts enlisted in the
Army of the Potomac and survived the hellish conditions as a “common foot soldier”
of the American Civil War. "Billings describes
an insightful account of the conflict – the experiences of every day life as a common foot-soldier – and a view
of the war that is sure to score with every buff." Continued below...
authenticity of his book is heightened by the many drawings that a comrade, Charles W. Reed, made while in the field. This
is the story of how the Civil War soldier was recruited, provisioned, and disciplined. Described here are the types of men
found in any outfit; their not very uniform uniforms; crowded tents and makeshift shelters; difficulties in keeping clean,
warm, and dry; their pleasure in a cup of coffee; food rations, dominated by salt pork and the versatile cracker or hardtack;
their brave pastimes in the face of death; punishments for various offenses; treatment in sick bay; firearms and signals and
modes of transportation. Comprehensive and anecdotal, Hardtack and Coffee is striking for the pulse of life that runs through
Reading: Tracing Your Civil War Ancestor (Hardcover). Description: It is tantalizing
to speculate about the role your ancestors may have played in the great national drama of the Civil War. But family records
are often inaccurate, or provide precious few leads on where to begin the search. Now, experienced historian Bertram Hawthorne
Groene shows you how easy it is to trace your forbearers' role in the war, where and how long they fought, whether they were
Union or Rebel, soldier or sailor -- even with a minimum of information. Continued below...
Civil War Ancestor provides you with:
-- The names
and addresses of all state archives.
-- Names and
addresses of institutions that hold microfilmed service records from the national archives.
-- Names and
publishers of useful regional Civil War reference books.
-- Names and
publishers of sourcebooks for identifying Civil War weapons and accoutrements.
-- And much
genealogists, antique dealers, and collectors of Civil War artifacts will find this concise guidebook of great value. But
most of all it is of inestimable practical value to family historians, North and South, who are discovering the pleasure and
satisfaction of compiling an accurate family history.
Recommended Reading: Civil
War Collector's Encyclopedia: Arms, Uniforms and Equipment of the Union and Confederacy.
Description: This comprehensive
and exhaustive reference identifies and describes the use and application of more than 800 items. Arranged alphabetically
by topic, subjects range from artillery accouterments and boats to tools and patriotic sheet music. "Everything an interested
reader would want to know . . . A must-have book." — Antiques & Auction News. Over 350 rare illustrations. Continued
The Civil War buff and even serious
collector of Civil War arms, uniforms and equipment should purchase the Civil War Collector's Encyclopedia: Arms, Uniforms
And Equipment Of The Union And Confederacy as an indispensable reference and core guide in this specialized area of military
antiques and collectibles with noted authority Francis A. Lord covering almost everything to do with Civil War memorabilia--from
equipment to Union and Confederate uniforms.