Civil War Primary Source Documents

From the New-York Historical Society, Civil War Primary Source Documents is an archive of unique manuscripts chronicling the American Civil War as it was experienced. Providing both Northern and Southern perspectives, it covers all aspects of the war, including reactions and impressions from the home front. 

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At a Glance


Subject Area: History
Ideal For: Academic LibrariesPublic Libraries

Title List:
Coverage: Excel | HTML

Content Includes:

  • Over 110,000 pages from over 400 individual collections
  • Extensive correspondence from both the Confederate and Union troops, societies and individuals and their families
  • Diaries from soldiers on the field and civilians on the home front
  • Hand-drawn illustrations, maps, and engineering notebooks
  • Military content from both the army and navy, from the front lines to hospitals and prisons
  • Letters and first person accounts from such well-known leaders as Ulysses S. Grant, as well as accounts from individual soldiers and sailors

Battlefront Perspectives and Personal Artifacts

Invaluable primary resources include letters, diaries, administrative records, photographs and illustrations. Personal accounts appear in various scrapbook journals and family portraits, and strategic initiatives are evident in maps featuring details of troop movements and local landmarks.

Insightful Correspondences and Papers

Highlights include the papers of David Cronin, a famous soldier and artist, soldiers' diaries chronicling daily life and experiences as prisoners of war, Union Defense Committee records and Confederate Army records.

While focus is placed on the War years, this resource also includes important contextual documents in the crucial years leading up to the War and after the fall of the Confederacy.