Skip to main content

Civil War, 1861-1865

Introduction

The American Civil War from 1861 through 1865 is sometimes described as the crucible from which the nation was forged. The cost to the States, north and south, in blood and treasure, is almost inconceivable. This one war accounted for nearly half of all casualties the United States has suffered since its formation.

The Battle of Opequon of Winchester, 1864

From the beginning of the war with the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter, SC, April 12, 1861, to the last battle at Palmito Ranch, Texas, May 13, 1865, the number of lives lost in battle, in prison camps, from disease and exposure, and through causes directly related to the war reached staggering proportions. (See the National Park Service Website for an informative presentation of facts about the war.)

This Library Guide will provide a staring point and information to aid in your research about the Civil War.

Books (LC Classifications)

Library of Congress Classification System - Civil War

The library organizes its materials using the Library of Congress Classification System.  For a full understanding of the War, it will be advantageous to also explore the period immediately preceding the onset of military action.  Note that in this classification system the letter "E" represents all United States History.

Class Range Subject
E 415-416 Middle Nineteenth Century
E 416-420 President James Polk
E 421-423 President Zachary Taylor
E 426-430  President Millard Filmore  
E 431-435 President Franklin Pierce
E 436-440.5 President James Buchanan
E 4566-459 President Abraham Lincoln's Administrations, 1861-April 15, 1865
E 456-665 Civil War Period
E 470-478 Military History, Civil War
482-489 Confederate States
E 591 - 600  Naval History,  Civil War
The Slavery Question arises in several administrations:
E 423 Taylor's administration 1849-July 9, 1850
E 433 Pierce's administration, 1853-1857
E 438 Buchanan's administration, 1857-1861
E 441-453 Slavery in the U.S.   Antislavery movements

 

Primary Sources

Multimedia

Streaming Video

Abraham Lincoln: An Extraordinary Life: Presented By Richard Carwardine, Oxford University and made available trough the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

YouTube Videos

American Experience: Robert E. Lee

(Click "Watch on YouTube.com" for link to the complete film on PBS)

YouTube Videos: Documentaries

The Divided Union: The Story of the American Civil War 1861-65, Part 4: Total War 

(Part of a five-part 1987 Arts & Entertainment TV Series)

Scenes from American History (Part 5): A House Divided

[United States Information Service (USIS), 1960]

Battle of Gettysburg

(History Channel, 2011)

Antietam: A Documentary Film

(Historical Films Group, 2000. Narrated by James Earl Jones. Filmed at Antietam National Battlefield and produced in cooperation with The Civil War Trust.)

Civil War Journal: The Battle of Fredericksburg

(History Channel, 1993)

YouTube Videos

Causes of the Civil War: Part 1

Causes of the Civil War: Part 2