Today in History:

The tools for research: books, recorded histories, the Official Record, photographs, letters, diaries, links, genealogical information, statistics and government records. This is the section for more in-depth study of the details of the war.
While the act of seceeding from the Union was considered by the federal government one of sedition, the Confederacy based their act on many of the principles on which the United States had been founded. 

The documents associated with the government of the Confederate States of America provide insight to not only the reasons for secession, but insight to some of the founding principles of the United States government.

In many cases, the reason for secession was based on these principles with respect to the issue of slavery.  This combination contributed greatly to the very strong feelings on both sides regarding secession.

The regular army was small at the outset of the Civil War.  As the war lengthened in time and losses, the governments of both sides relied heavily upon the states themselves to provide men through militias as a means of keeping costs down at the federal level.  This method had several benefits, such as the granting of commissions as a political favor, as well as encouraging natural leaders to come forward through raising their own regiments, etc. After the war, the bonds created among units were strong and local.  As a result, much of the history of the war was recorded by societies or groups that formed by way of veteran's organizations.  These groups often collected the anectdotes and histories of the militia and recorded them for posterity's sake.  This section is devoted to providing as many Regimental Histories as we can gather as a supplement to the official documentation of the war.  This section should not be confused with Fox's Regimental History.

Faith was an important aspect of society during the mid-19th century.  While the vast majority of Americans at the time considered themselves Christian, there were differing beliefs within the various Christian denominations and regions of the country; the issue of slavery and the right to enslave another person ranking very  high among the differences.  During the period leading up to the Civil War sermons were frequently printed and distributed in much the same way a periodical such a newspaper or magazine.  Indeed, it was not unusual for printed sermons to have a larger distribution and readership than regional newspapers and often were included in the newspapers of the day.  In this section are several sermons that were instrumental in shaping the reactions to events and views on slavery. 


There were sermons given in the North which were rebutted in the South with a counter sermon.  The early 1800's in the West was a period marked by new thought and interpetation of scripture, some of which lead to Unitarianism and Humanism.  With much of the abolition movement in the North rooted in Unitarian congregations, in the South the message was often rejected because of the messenger.  Note:  the term "unitarian" was used to indicate a non-triun God, essentially rejecting the Deity of Christ as one with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Harper's Weekly is an American periodical that was published by Fletcher Harper and his Brothers James, John and Wesley from 1857 until 1916.  The publication was the most popular weekly during the period of the Civil War and is known for its lithographs, illustrations and descriptions of events during the period. As a historical reference the material in the weekly provides the perspective most American's had of the war as it transpired.  The record in Harper's Weekly often differs with the Official Record, which can be expected with any civilian coverage of a military operation. It remains, however, one of the more impactful and important references of soldier life during the war.

Benson John Lossing, born February 12, 1813 died June 3, 1891, was an American historian and journalist who's lifespan encompassed the Civil War and who's extensive works provided one of the more popular histories of the Civil War from the 19th century.  He was a frequent contributor to Harper's New Monthly Magazine.  His specialty was the American Revolution, a topic he must have thoroughly enjoyed having ammassed a significant library of reference documents and material covering the subject.  His background and ability to collect and compile information in a logical, compelling and captivating manner translated well for the posterity of the record of the Civil War.

Below are links to the various works by Lossing covering the period of the Civil War.

Benson J. Lossing wrote an extensive history of the United States, from discovery through 1867.  In this section we provide the chapters covering President Buchanan's administration, Lincoln's administration and the chapters on the Civil War.


The Photographic History

of The Civil War

In Ten Volumes


Francis Trevelyan Miller - Editor in Chief


Robert S. Lanier

Managing Editor


Thousands of Scenes Photogrpahed

1861-65, with Text by many

Special Authorities


New York

The Review of Reviews Co.



Produced for the 50th anniversary of the Civil War this work by the Review of Reviews Co. in 1911, edited by Francis Trevelyan Miller, is an epic ten volume set of photogrpahic record, broken down into various categories of geography, time periods, campaigns and military arms, among others.  It was undoubtedbly a work designed for profit, yet also desinged to tell the story of the war to honor those who fought on both sides and to unite the two. President William Howard Taft was one of the principal listed contributors.


The work is dedicated thusly -




And from the introduction:

"THE PHOTOGRAPHIC HISTORY OF THE CIVIL WAR comes on this anniversary to witness a people's valor; to testify in photograph to the true stroy of how a devoted people whose fathers had stood shoulder to shoulder for the ideal of liverty in the American Revolution, who had issued to the world the declaration that all men are created politcially free and equal, who had formulated the Constitution that dethroned mediaeval monarchy and founded a new republic to bring new hope to the races of the earth---parted at the dividing line of a great economic problem and stood arrayed against each other in the greates fraticidal tragedy that the world has ever witnessed, only to be reunited and to stand, fifty years later, hand in hand for the betterment of mankind, pledging themselves to universal peace and brotherhood."