Civil War Records & Newspapers

Civil War Records

The Civil War was fought between 1861 and 1865. At the time, it was referred to as the War Between the States, but also as the War of the Rebellion by northerners and the War of Northern Aggression or the War for Southern Independence by the south. Civil War records are numerous, despite how long ago the war was fought.

Civil War records include rosters of soldiers who fought in the war, registry of enlistments, draft registration records and prisoner of war documents. Civil War records also divide soldier and troop information between the Union and Confederate sides, and some Civil War records are broken down by state. Census records exist that document Civil War widows, as well as Civil War pension records.

Each soldier who volunteered to fight in the Civil War had a compiled military service record that detailed his involvement in the war. These types of Civil War records are a useful way to find out more about a particular soldier. Photographs and personal diaries and letters also exist as Civil War records.

Civil War Timeline

1860: Abraham Lincoln is elected as the 16th president on November 6 and vows to abolish slavery. In December, South Carolina secedes from the Union, followed quickly by Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Georgia and Florida.

1861: The southern states form the Confederate States of America with Jefferson Davis as president. On April 12, Confederate General Beauregard fires on Fort Sumter, South Carolina, and the Civil War begins.

1862: The battle of Antietam on September 17 is the bloodiest battle up to that date. Union soldiers, led by McClellan, defeat General Robert E. Lee in Maryland and kill 26,000 men.

1863: Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all slaves and stresses enlisting black soldiers in the Union army.

1865: General Lee surrenders in Appomattox, Virginia, to Union General Grant on April 9, ending the war.

Civil War Newspaper Article

The Abingdon Virginian published another Civil War newspaper edition on July 24, 1863 that largely discussed the war. One of the big stories in this Civil War newspaper edition was the reports on the Battle of Gettysburg. This famous battle became one of the bloodiest in history and was a significant victory for the Union. The Abingdon Virginian, however, had yet to receive official information regarding the outcome of this battle and was relying on soldiers accounts who had just arrived in town.

Reported in the Civil War newspaper was the assurance that the Confederate Army lost 12,000 men, while the enemy lost more than double that. This Civil War newspaper edition is convinced of southern victory, assuring that despite heavy fire from the enemy on the third day, the Confederates drove them back and emerged victorious. Also expressed is confusion on why the particulars from the end of the battle haven't been communicated.

This Civil War newspaper edition also discussed the prevalence of guerrillas on the Mississippi River and said that its gunboats cannot keep the river safe for transportation of necessary supplies to its troops. Specific boats are mentioned and the damage done, including the Strader that was carrying hundreds of boxes of ammunition, but has a hole from a "12-pounder" in her bar. The Prima Donna is reported with over 20 holes from cannons.

Also reported in this Civil War newspaper edition was why the formation of the Southern Association for Home Defense was so essential, citing an incident where enemy troops invaded or "sacked" the town of Clinton, Louisiana. These soldiers arrested all the men and left the women and children in the homes, which the soldiers later broke into and plundered. They were also freeing the slaves.

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