The USA 1861-1865: Civil War

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Eyewitness to History: Civil War
Eyewitness to History: Civil War
A collection of relatively short extracts relating to key events. Useful for considering how contemporaries experienced/responded to the unfolding crisis.
Photography and History: The American Civil War
Photography and History: The American Civil War
How did plantation owners and northern industrialists, yeoman farmers and slaves, and women and children experience the Civil War and the enormous social and political changes it wrought? Though the Civil War is the most written-about episode in American history, politicians continue to debate its legacy and historians continue to uncover rich new details and narratives. Recently a handful of scholars (perhaps influenced by studies of the impact of television on the Vietnam War) have sought to explore the relationship between the Civil War and the photographers and photographs that documented the conflict and its aftermath.This article aims to summarize and synthesize much of this material in order to elucidate how photographs influenced Americans at war and on the homefront, and how they can enrich our present understanding of the Civil War.
The Crisis of the Union
The Crisis of the Union
This collection is comprised of pamphlets, books, broadsides, cartoons, clippings, paintings, maps, and other print memorabilia about America from circa 1830 to 1880. Items are drawn primarily from the collection of the Library Company of Philadelphia. If you want a document archive exploring both the origins of the sectional crisis, the war ad the aftermath this is a really useful resource.
Lincoln Archives
Lincoln Archives
A useful portal collecting together a range of resources and sites on Lincoln. I have listed some of those sites separately, but this is a good place to start.
Selected Civil War Photographs
Selected Civil War Photographs
The Selected Civil War Photographs Collection contains 1,118 photographs. Most of the images were made under the supervision of Mathew B. Brady, and include scenes of military personnel, preparations for battle, and battle after-effects. The collection also includes portraits of both Confederate and Union officers, and a selection of enlisted men. Includes a timeline to help you search for specific documents.
Valley of the Shadow Project 1859-1870
Valley of the Shadow Project 1859-1870
This University of Virginia Site provides a rich archive of source material exploring how communities on either side of the conflict experienced war. Holds extensive archives of maps, official records, letters,photos. A place to explore the cultural impact of conflict.
Lincoln Archives - Wartime Newspapers
Lincoln Archives - Wartime Newspapers
A searchable database of various editions of 21 newspapers, most Northern, covering the war years.
Civil War Music Site
Civil War Music Site
Pretty basic, but if you want an introduction to the musical culture of the civil war, this is useful.
The Civil War in NYC
The Civil War in NYC
George Mason University site, collecting articles from the New York Times, Harper's and others, detailing the impact of war on the city.
The Southern Homefront 1861-1865
The Southern Homefront 1861-1865
Part of the University of North Carolina's Documenting the American South project. A range of resources on the Southern experience of war.
Confederate States of America, Provisional Constitution (8/2/1861)
Confederate States of America, Provisional Constitution (8/2/1861)
How did the Confederate States incorporate the US constitution into their constitution, where did they differ?
Inaugural Address of Jefferson Davies (18/2/1861)
Inaugural Address of Jefferson Davies (18/2/1861)
"We have entered upon the career of independence, and it must be inflexibly pursued." How did Jefferson Davies, President of the provisional Confederate Government, explain the secession and the new Confederacy?
The Emancipation Proclamation (1/1/1863)
The Emancipation Proclamation (1/1/1863)
President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, as the nation approached its third year of bloody civil war. The proclamation declared "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious states "are, and henceforward shall be free." This site contains scanned copies of the proclamation and the preliminary proclamation of the previous year.
Enrollment Act (3/3/63)
Enrollment Act (3/3/63)
On March 3, 1863 President Lincoln signed The Enrollment Act , which required all male citizens between the ages of twenty and forty-five to enroll for possible military service. Across the country, the act was immediately unpopular and sparked many demonstrations in protest of the new law, most notably in the Draft Riots in New York City in July 1863.
New York Times reports the Draft Riots (July 1863)
New York Times reports the Draft Riots (July 1863)
Reports on the riots in New York. What do these reports tell us about the unity of the North during the war? What were sources of division?
Lewis Douglass Describes the Battle of Fort Wagner (16/7/1863)
Lewis Douglass Describes the Battle of Fort Wagner (16/7/1863)
Letter from Lewis Douglass, son of the famous black abolitionist Frederick Douglass recounting the attack on Fort Wagner in South Carolina. This was one of the first military engagements by a regiment of black soldiers - later fictionalised in the film Glory.
Harper's Weekly, August 1, 1863
Harper's Weekly, August 1, 1863
Scans from Harper’s Weekly covering the Draft Riots in text and cartoons.
Abraham Lincoln, "Gettysburg Address" (19/11/1863)
Abraham Lincoln, "Gettysburg Address" (19/11/1863)
Four months after the Battle of Gettysburg, Lincoln joined in a dedication of a national cemetery on a portion of the battlefield. The speech he delivered that day would become one of the most famous speeches given by a U.S. President.
Abraham Lincoln, Second Inaugural Address (4/3 1865)
Abraham Lincoln, Second Inaugural Address (4/3 1865)
Just over a month before his assassination, Lincoln gives his brief yet poignant second Inaugural Address. With the end of the Civil War rapidly approaching, Lincoln uses the opportunity to look toward the eventual peace and reconstruction of the Union. He begins his closing remarks with the famous words "With malice toward none; with charity for all."