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Finding Primary Sources: Civil War

Introduction to primary sources and where to go to find them.

Civil War, 1860 - 1865

The American Civil War Home Page  Links to hundreds of resources, including timelines, overviews, images, letters, accounts and diaries, bibliographies, state studies, specific battles and rosters. A good place to start any search for Civil War information.

American Civil War Resources: Civil War materials from the Digital Library & Archives, Virginia Tech Libraries containing letters and diaries from both Union and Confederate soldiers, homefront letters, memoirs, and contemporary research files.

Civil War Washington  Civil War Washington examines the U.S. national capital from multiple perspectives as a case study of social, political, cultural, and medical/scientific transitions provoked or accelerated by the Civil War.  Drawing on material ranging from census records to literary texts  we examine how Washington changed from a sleepy Southern town to the symbolic center of the Union and nation.

Civil War Women: Primary Sources on the Internet: A webpage sponsored by Duke University Special Collections Library containing diaries, letters and photographs.

Richmond Daily Dispatch, 1860 - 1865  The Richmond Daily Dispatch is a collaboration between the University of Richmond, Tufts University's Perseus Project, and the Virginia Center for Digital History. There are currently 1384 issues of the paper available online, ranging in date from November 1860 through December 1865.


Secession Era Editorials Project  Currently contains newspaper editorials about the following seminal events:  the Nebraska bill debates, Dred Scott, and John Brown's Raid on Harper's Ferry, and the attack on Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner by South Carolina representative Preston Brooks.

The U.S. Civil War Center (Louisiana State University)
A collection of web links to indexes, letters, diaries, museums, discussion groups, newspapers, university archives, and Web-accessible documents. The 'historic places' portion leads to information on battlefields, cemeteries, forts, and historic sites.

The Valley of the Shadow: Living the Civil War in Virginia and Pennsylvania
Text and documents dealing with two communities: Chambersburg, Pa., and Staunton, Va. project attempts to find ways to learn about and portray people who left no records other than a few lines in the census, court records and newspapers. Links to related readings available elsewhere on the Internet.

The War of the Rebellion: Both The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (1880 - 1901) and the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion (1894 - 1922) are available full text online at Cornell University's Making of America site. These are obviously two of the most significant civil war resources.


This page is used with the permission of its creator, Ed Oetting from Arizona State University Libraries.

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