In addition to this list of online resources, of course, the library also contains an extensive collection of books on the U.S. Civil War. You will find most of the books in the nonfiction section beginning with Dewey number 973.7 (which is Dewey number for the U.S. Civil War). If you have any trouble finding the resources you need, please ask Mrs. Naro or Mrs. Faus to help you.
American History Online
Spanning more than 500 years of political, military, social, and cultural history, this database explores different facets of American history. Please ask Mrs. Naro or Mrs. Faus for the Username and password if you would like to use this database at home.
U.S. History in Context
Provides integrated access to historical (primary) documents, reference articles, full-text journals covering themes, events, individuals and periods in U.S. history from pre-Colonial times to the present.
Virtual Reference Library
Includes general encyclopedias, plus specialized reference sources covering subjects including Arts, Biography, Business, Education, Environment, History, Law, Literature, Medicine, Multicultural Studies, Nation & World, Religion, Science, and Social Science.
Millions of full-text articles cover the physical sciences, technology, medicine, social sciences, the arts, theology, literature and other subjects. Includes full-text coverage of the New York Times back to 1985. Updated daily. Coverage: 1980 - current.
Student Resources in Context
Provides access to 79,000 reference articles from acclaimed publications like American Decades; 15 million periodical and newspaper articles from the New York Times, U.S. News and World Report, and many others; 4,200 primary sources; 100,000 multimedia records, including charts, graphs, maps and tables; and video and audio content from NBC, NPR and many other respected sources.
Biography in Context
This database contains more than 400,000 biographies.
The Boston Public Library has several online research databases that would be helpful for conducting research on the Civil War. To gain access to these databases, you must first obtain an eCard. This process takes only a few minutes. Click here and follow the instructions.
To use these databases, you will need to input your BPL eCard number and your PIN. Some helpful databases are:
This database provides full-text access to nearly 600 core scholarly journals covering 44 specialized subject areas. Complete back runs of many titles available. Coverage: spread out over the last 150 years but no current coverage for last 3-5 years.
Archive of Americana
Contains unique primary source material relating to nearly every aspect of United States history from over three centuries. Coverage: 1639-1980.
Oxford African American Studies Center
This database contains more than 10,000 articles by top scholars, focusing on the lives and events which have shaped African American and African history and culture.
America’s Historical Newspapers (1690-1922)
This is part of the Archive of Americana database. This collection includes “Early American Newspapers, Series I, II & III” and features cover-to-cover fully text-searchable facsimile images of over 1,000 historical newspapers from all 50 states, enabling researchers to explore virtually every aspect of America during the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries.
The Civil War (A Film by Ken Burns – PBS companion web site)
Includes images of the Civil War, maps of key battles, biographies, and historical documents.
The American Civil War
The site contains balanced, substantive coverage of the Civil War, including its causes, famous battles, and leaders. There are sections on food, music, and “fascinating facts” of the war. This is a great place to find the basics.
The Civil War at the Smithsonian
Produced by the National Portrait Gallery, this site has an extensive image collection of Civil War artifacts. With background information included, the visitor can find anything from Abraham Lincoln’s beaver top hat to examples of uniforms and weapons. The site also includes portraits, sculptures, and photographs.
American Civil War (The History Channel )
This site includes an extensive gallery of clips from History Channel’s Civil War documentaries, photographs, topic overviews, an interactive map of Sherman’s march, and an interactive graphical overview of the war. Topics include: technology, women, espionage, medicine, biographies of important people, and discussions of important battles.
The Civil War: 150 Years (National Park Service Sesquicentennial Commemoration)
Includes overviews and primary sources, as well as links to the web sites of over 70 parks and battlegrounds in the National Park System, which also have resources related to the history of the Civil War.
The American Civil War Homepage
This web site provides a link to excellent primary materials. A subject index makes it easy to access a whole range of issues that were the subject of either Senate or House debates in both the pre and post Civil War period. This site also has an extensive Civil War music section, providing the lyrics to many popular tunes of that period, along with various other primary sources—letters, regimental histories, and biographies.
EDSITEment’s Civil War Page
The National Endowment for the Humanities EDSITEment website has over 33 lessons on the causes, the course and the consequences of the Civil War. Each lesson is written by a history or government teacher and is built around critical analysis of primary sources including documents, speeches, images and photographs drawn from vetted websites.
American Memory (Library of Congress)
The Library of Congress has an enormous collection of primary source and other materials related to the Civil War. Some LOC web pages to look for these resources are:
In honor of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the National Archives has created a digital exhibit of many important documents from the Civil War/Reconstruction Era, with a brief introduction to establish the historical context. The site also includes videos with transcripts of programs at the National Archives, including a discussion by Drew Faust Gilpin on her book This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War. There are also articles from Prologue, the magazine of the National Archives and pathfinders on several Civil War topics such as “Confederate Sympathizers in New Mexico During the Civil War.” Other web sites sponsored by the National Archives are:
The Valley of the Shadow
A University of Virginia project that analyzes the Civil War from the viewpoint of citizens in two counties, one Northern and the other Southern, using photographs, census records, newspapers, letters, and diaries.
War Times Journal American Civil War
This site includes excerpts from the memoirs of General U.S. Grant, General John Gordon, General John B. Hood, Lieutenant General James Longstreet, and General William Tecumseh Sherman, as well as orders, telegrams and reports from the navies of the United and Confederate States.
The Papers of Jefferson Davis (Rice University)
The site includes a biography of Davis, as well as a bibliography of works about him. Selected primary sources are located under Archives, Documents.
The Ulysses S. Grant Association (Mississippi State University)
This site provides access to many primary source documents on Ulysses S. Grant. Search within the “Digitized Items” section.
Virginia Military Institute Archives
The VMI Archives has an extensive collection of online primary sources on the Civil War, including:
EyeWitness to the American Civil War
This site presented by Ibis Communications includes firsthand accounts of John Brown’s raid, the assassination of President Lincoln, the Gettysburg Address, Sherman’s March and many other important events.
Antietam on the Web
This web site includes detailed campaign and battle maps, a list of the units and participants in the battles, all 315 of the commanders’ after-action reports, photographs and other primary source material about the battle.
Duke University Libraries Digital Collections
The Duke University Library has an extensive collection of online primary sources on the Civil War, including:
—Historic American Sheet Music
Click on the “subject” tab and browse sheet music under “United States—History—Civil War, 1861-1865—Songs and music” and “Confederate States of America—Songs and music.”
Documenting the American South (The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
This site provides access to digitized primary materials that offer Southern perspectives on American history and culture. Some sections of interest include: First Person Narratives of the American South; North American Slave Narratives; and the Southern Homefront, 1861-1865.
Civil War Primary Sources (Civil War Trust)
Includes full-text of official records; addresses and speeches; acts, bills and orders; military correspondence and documents; personal correspondence and narratives; prints and photos; and maps.
The Civil War in Missouri (Missouri’s Civil War Heritage Foundation)
This site includes battle animations of the Battle of Centralia and the Battle of Island Mound.
Letters from an Iowa Soldier in the Civil War
A collection of letters written by Newton Robert Scott, Private, Company A, of the 36th Infantry, Iowa Volunteers (“the boys of Monroe County.”)
Voices of Civil War Veterans (Oakland University)
Includes selected letters and diary entries by two soldiers, Seth Streeter (Union) and Thomas Hartful Moore (Confederate), as well as other official military documents.
Civil War Prints and Ephemera (The Library Company of Philadelphia Digital Collections)
Includes images of Civil War recruiting posters, hospitals, and military camps.
Lee and Jackson Resources (The Museum of the Confederacy)
Includes letters and documents, artifacts, photographs and portraits relating to Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson.
The Avalon Project (Yale Law School)
A digital library of documents relevant to the fields of Law, History, Economics, Politics, Diplomacy and Government.
North Carolina Civil War Sesquicentennial. Civil War Resources: North Carolina Digital Collections (North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources)
Includes primary sources (mostly letters) related to specific battles, desertion, medical care, food, guerrilla fighting, supplies and many other topics.
Civil War: Photographs, Manuscripts, and Imprints, DeGolyer Library (Southern Methodist University Central University Libraries Digital Collections)
Provides a sample of the photographs, images, albums, and more, illustrating both the Confederate and Union sides of the war. There are many portrait cartes de visite of Union and Confederate generals, officers, and soldiers, with a particular focus Texas-related Civil War images. The collection includes images of slave children, the destruction of war, and women left at home while their relatives were off fighting.
A College Divided: Maryland Agricultural College and the Civil War
The Maryland Agricultural College, forerunner of the University of Maryland, College Park, had scarcely opened its doors when the Civil War began. This exhibit highlights the lives of just a few of the students, faculty, administrators, stockholders, and trustees who attended the college during this time.
Civil War Resources (Missouri Secretary of State, Missouri Digital Heritage Project)
This site provides instant access to more than 500,000 digitized Civil War records, including military records, historical newspapers, court documents of Frank and Jesse James, and images of William Quantrill’s Guerrillas, as well as videos on topics such as Missouri’s complicated role in the Civil War.
Civil War (Chicago Public Library)
An online exhibit of the items in the Civil War Collection of the Chicago Public Library, including photographs from George Barnard’s photographs of Sherman’s Campaign.
Civil War in the American South (Digital Library of Georgia)
A portal to the digital collections from the Civil War era (1850-1865) held by members of the Association of Southern Research Libraries (ASERL). This site currently links to more than 9,226 items from 27 libraries, providing ready access to important primary sources, including letters from soldiers and images from Andersonville.
South Carolina and the Civil War (Thomas Cooper Library, University of South Carolina, Digital Collections)
A collection of primary source materials relating to South Carolina’s participation in the Civil War, including letters, envelopes or “covers,” and sheet music, as well as materials portraying the “Lost Cause.”
Civil War, 1861-1865 (New York State Library)
Includes letters from soldiers, speeches, military reports from Gettysburg, circulars and broadsides relating to the Civil War.
Civil War Archive (University of Mississippi Libraries)
An online collection of primary source materials including correspondence, diaries, images and field reports, the Civil War Archive adds to the narrative of the War, both on the field and home front. These materials document troop movements, social conditions, battles, the home front and an extensive variety of topics. The collection also includes materials relating to the Antebellum South and the Reconstruction era. Browseable by subject.
Civil War Diaries and Letters (Civil War Diaries and Letters Digital Collection, The University of Iowa Libraries)
Includes holdings of books, letters, pamphlets, and memorabilia that explore the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln, as well as a variety of letters and diaries from soldiers, nurses, and supply administrators. The collections also includes three diaries written by children.
American Civil War Collections: Letters and Diaries (University of Delaware Library Digital Collections)
This digital collection many primary sources related to the American Civil War, including letters, prints, documents, photographs and Abraham Lincoln materials. Some items of interest Alexander Gardner Photographs of Lincoln Conspirators and the letters and diaries of Delawareans who served in the war on the side of the Union, as well as the Personal diary of the Reverend Samuel Tupper, a relief worker for the U.S. Christian Commission, a Union relief organization during the Civil War.
eHistory Primary Sources Section (Ohio State University)
Another site that provides full-text access to all of the volumes and series of The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, by the United States War Department. Searchable by keyword.
Charting a More Perfect Union (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
This site includes an historical collection of maps and documents prepared by the U.S. Coast Survey during the Civil War, as well as the full-text of secret documents written by U.S. Coast Survey supervisor Alexander Dallas Bache and used by the Union Blockade Board. There is full-text access to the report, Military and Naval Service of the United States Coast Survey 1861-1865, and the report, The U.S. Coast Survey in the Civil War.
Illinois during the Civil War (Northern Illinois University Libraries)
Toward the top of this page is a buttons to search text, image, sound, and interactive resources. Sources include letters, diaries and newspapers from soldiers and civilians from Illinois.
American Civil War Collection at the Electronic Text Center (University of Virginia Library)
Includes letters and diaries, as well as official government records, newspapers, and other texts (poetry, fiction, etc.) related to the Civil War.
Civil War Era Collection at Gettysburg College
A digital repository offering a sampling of a Gettysburg College’s collection of 19th century resources that includes political cartoons, letters, photographs, maps, and artifacts relating to the Civil War Era.
Civil War Letters (Hunter Library Digital Collections, Western Carolina University)
This collection of letters includes those written by soldiers from western North Carolina who served with Confederate regiments. Letters to and from family and friends are the most prevalent in Hunter Library’s collections. There are, however, a number of letters to James H. Cathey, a community leader, from individuals requesting his assistance due to personal hardships on the home front or from politicians. About two-thirds of the letters presented are from 1862-1863.
Civil War Collection (Hamilton College Library)
A variety of Civil War materials, including letters, diaries, and military records relating to the people and history of Oneida County, New York. A large portion of these resources relate to the 117th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment mustered in on August 8, 1862 at Oneida county.
United States Civil War Collection (State Library of Pennsylvania)
Contains a wide variety of full-text primary sources and images, including speeches, broadsides and recruitment posters. See also: Civil War: Resources and Instruction for teachers and Learners (Pennsylvania Department of Education), which includes diaries, historical newspapers, maps, and photographs.
Beyond Face Value: depictions of Slavery in Confederate Currency (A Project of the U.S. Civil War Center)
This exhibit focuses on the Southern currency notes that featured images of slavery and were issued and circulated in the South during the Antebellum, Civil War, and Reconstruction Eras. Notes were issued by the Confederate government, state governments, merchants, and railroad companies.
Wisconsin Goes to War: Our Civil War Experience (University of Wisconsin Digital Archives Center)
A collection of first person narrative accounts of Wisconsin soldiers and citizens, including letters, diaries, poems and other records. Many of the included documents are handwritten while others consist of a typed transcription for which originals may or may not be available.
American Civil War Manuscript Guides (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech))
Primary sources include the memoirs of a Confederate surgeon, as well as the letters from soldiers in the Union and Confederate armies. There are also documents relating to the Virginia Secession Convention.
Discover (Library of Michigan and the Archives of Michigan)
Includes manuscripts, service records, death records, and photographs.
Civil War Manuscripts (State Historical Society of Missouri)
Includes a variety of letters and manuscripts regarding the war from a Missouri perspective.
University of Maryland, University Libraries Digital Collections
A searchable collection of digital files containing original photographs, correspondence, and manuscripts.
New Hampshire Historical Society—Includes a sampling of letters written by Private Edward F. Hall while serving in the 3rd N.H. Regiment.
Digital Collections at the Connecticut State Library
This searchable database of primary sources includes letters, diary entries, historical newspapers, and photographs.
Civil War One Fifty (Kansas City Star)
Includes letters from Union and Confederate soldiers, a widow, and a black soldier writing to his enslaved daughters.
Civil War Research and Commemoration (U.S. Army Center for Military History)
Includes letters from soldiers (under “archival materials”), artwork and photographs, and brochures.
Secession Era Editorials (Furman University)
Contains editorials from partisan newspapers in the late Antebellum period.
Modern History Sourcebook: US Civil War (Fordham University)
A portal linking to a wide variety of primary sources throughout the Internet.
Civil War, 1861-1865 (Digital Collections, East Carolina University)
Contains correspondence, diaries, song books, military records, photographs, maps and other primary source material.
Contains more than 38,000 free eBooks, including the memoirs of Grant and Sherman and a history of the rise and fall of the Confederacy by Jefferson Davis.
Contains the full-text of five Civil War-related books: The Life and Works of Abraham Lincoln, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War (written by Union and Confederate leaders), The Capture of Jefferson Davis (includes personal recollections of the people who witnessed this event), and two books on military training and procedure.
History of the Civil War, 1861-1865 by James Ford Rhodes
“Awarded the Pulitzer Prize in History in 1918, Rhodes’s chronicle of the War Between the States both provides the general reader with a clearly written description of the events of four bloody years as well as reveals the self-educated author’s belief in the war’s cause as the evil of slavery.”
Digital Book Index
Contains links to thousands of free eBooks. Choose to “browse by subjects” or to “browse American Studies.”
Provides full-text access to a wide variety of historical books and texts and is easily searchable by keyword. To find primary sources, you can browse the results after searching for the subject “United States—History Civil War, 1861-1865 Personal narratives” or using keywords (e.g. “Civil War diary surgeon” or “Confederate diary soldier”).