Researching the Civil War....

| History and Education | Research

Patrick McCawley
South Carolina Dept. of Archives & History

The tragic impact the Civil War had on our nation has made it one of the most heavily researched periods in our nation’s history. The Library Congress estimates it holds over 70,000 volumes that deal directly with the war, with numerous other volumes dealing partially or indirectly with some aspect of the conflict. Added to the published material are the untold manuscript collections, letters, diaries, newspapers, and state and Federal government records related to the Civil War. The problem is not necessarily finding information, but knowing where to start. This problem hold true even if you are concentrating on just South Carolina’s involvement in the Civil War. Listed below are different resources to help you discover and investigate this devastating, but formative period in our history.

Researching the Civil War can be a daunting task because of the number of books and repositories that may hold information important to your research. The section on publications lists several general histories that will provide an overview of the war as well as provide bibliographical essays that can lead you to more specific information. Also included on the list are several publications that are strictly bibliographies of other published works. Finding manuscript sources is more problematic because of the sheer number of repositories involved and the accessibility of guides to those collections. Major repositories may have a web presence that includes digital and searchable guides, but many smaller repositories will not.

Online Sources

The US Civil War Center at LSU

The American Civil War Homepage (University of Tennessee)

Civil War Trust: Primary Source Documents

Library of Congress Civil War Records

National Archives Civil War Records

National Park Service: Civil War Soldier and Sailor System

The War of Rebellion: The Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

Civil War Interactive and Blue & Gray Daily

Virginia Center for Civil War Studies

University of South Carolina Libraries


Library of Congress Selected Bibliography

South Carolina Department of Archives & History
Guide to Civil War Records

The University of
South Carolina Press

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