Civil War

It was easy enough for an excited and passionate South to pass secession resolutions in 1861—yet harder than it thought to get away from the Old Flag. Read more >>

Branded a traitor by the government he once served, John C. Breckinridge ran a perilous race for freedom rather than risk capture by the North

The weather in the Straits of Florida was turbulent in June of 1865. Throughout that spring the Caribbean boiled from one storm after another, but this latest one was particularly severe. Read more >>
Colonel William E. Peters stared at his commanding officer incredulously. Had he heard the order correctly? On whose authority was it given? he asked. Read more >>

Captain Semmes was spoiling for a fight—and Winslow of the U.S.S. Kearsarge was waiting for him, just off Cherbourg

Early in 1864 the Confederate States Steamer Alabama left the Indian Ocean and headed for European waters. Read more >>

The black laborers on John Williams’ plantation never seemed to leave or complain. It took some digging to find out why

One day in late October of 1864, as the Civil War was moving into its final stages, eight young men in civilian clothes arrived in New York City from Toronto by train. Read more >>

Year by year the ranks of the G.A.R. grew thinner —but until the last old soldier was gone, Decoration Day in a New England town was a moving memorial to “the War”

The War had been over hardly two decades when I was a boy. If one had occasion to refer to it, he called it simply “the War,” for it was the only war we had had within the memory of all but a negligible few. Read more >>
Oriana Weems, Alma Lamour, Caroline Fitzhugh, Seth Rawbon, Netley Shiplake, Mordaunt—none of these improbable names is likely to mean anything to the modern reader, but to the generation that lived through the Civil War, and sighed and wept over the novels th Read more >>

AN AMERICAN HERITAGE ORIGINAL DOCUMENT
Edited and with an introduction

The Union stood in danger of losing an entire army at Chattanooga. Then U. S. Grant arrived, and directed the most dramatic battle of the Civil War

On October 17, 1863, aboard a railroad car in Indianapolis, Indiana, General Ulysses S. Grant met for the first time Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. Read more >>

Verdicts Of History: III -- Even his abolitionist friends thought his attack on Harpers Ferry insane, but the old Kansas raider sensed that his death would ignite the nation’s conscience.

“Judicial Circuit Court of Virginia, Jefferson County, to wit: The Jurors of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in find for the body of the County of Jefferson, duly impaneled, and attending upon the Circuit Court of said county, upon their oaths do present that John Brown, Aar Read more >>

A choice between life and honor is a fearful one for any man. Here is the unforgettable story of how it was made by a twenty-one-year-old Confederate private.

The dawn seemed reluctant to break through the dismal skies over middle Tennessee on November 27, 1863, and by ten o’clock the gray clouds had given way to rain. The drops fell on soldiers of the 81st Ohio Infantry drawn up around a gallows on Seminary Ridge, just outside the town of Pulaski, and on a slender youngster in gray seated on a coffin in an army wagon that rumbled toward the hollow square of troops. Read more >>

Concerned lest history
overlook their triumphs, veterans of the Army of the Cumberland had them writ large -- on a canvas five hundred feet long.
of the Cumberland had them writ large—on a canvas
five hundred feet long

The Army of the Cumberland was one of the principal Union armies in the Civil War, and it was about as good an army as this country ever had. Read more >>
The fabric of history is often woven of surprising threads: the chance meeting, the extravagant whimsey of fate. No better illustration of this can be found than the string of events surrounding the table in Wilmer McLean’s parlor upon which Ulysses S. Read more >>

A Union veteran talks of life in a prison camp: it was bad, yet there were times one could recall happily

The reality of the Civil W;ir prison camp has long .since gone from Ii u man knowledge, The camps themselves have vanished, although in a few places there are quiet parks to mark their sites, each with a cemetery: thousands of men died. Read more >>
From the American Civil War to the beginning of America’s involvement in the Second World War is a long time, and the two things apparently have very little relation with one another. Read more >>

The first modern war correspondent won a nickname, much Northern ill will, and a lasting reputation out of his account of a famous battle

His shrewd handling of the Radical Republican bid for power at the end of 1862 established him as the unquestioned leader of the Union

On the flaming Kansas-Missouri border the name of Quantrill struck terror in men’s hearts. He was a cruel and ruthless guerrilla who burned, robbed, and killed without mercy; but legend made of him a hero dashing and bold

Was the old South solidly for slavery and secession? An eminent historian disputes a long-cherished view of that region’s history

Flags flew and champagne flowed when the Czar’s ships anchored in New York Harbor. Fifty years later we learned the reason for their surprise visit

Surprised and almost overwhelmed, he stubbornly refused to admit defeat. His cool conduct saved his army and his job

The draft riots of 1863 turned a great city into a living hell.

Upon the clash of arms near a little Maryland creek hung the slave’s freedom and the survival of the Union

At Fort Wagner the Negro soldier was asked to prove the worth of the “powerful black hand”

On the eve of the Civil War differing loyalties sent some West Pointers north, others south, but their academy friendship survived the conflict.