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5 of the Best Civil War History Websites

Civil War Tents

5 of the Best Civil War History Websites

What are the best Civil War history websites you can find? The American Civil War raged from 1861 to 1865 and permanently altered the nation’s course. As one of the first modern conflicts to be waged, there is still a fair bit of intrigue and exploration into the tactics, weaponry, and politics of the era. These websites serve as a great primer for the amateur historian.

Library of Congress Civil War Photo Collection

Civil War-inspired games for PC
The Library of Congress has one of the best collections of photos you’ll find.

One of the best Civil War history websites you’ll find is the Library of Congress‘s Civil War Photo Collection. This is a comprehensive catalog of images taken during the war, which have been handily compiled into an easy-to-search database.

What Makes It Great

Four union officers in front of tent, with two Africans-American during the Petersburg Campaign. Many former slaves, emancipated in 1863, were employed a servants to Union officers. August, 1864.
The photo database is organized immaculately

.

If you have relatives who fought in the war, you can readily search for the name and military unit of individuals. They might not have photos, but the fact that it was a requested feature speaks volumes to the lengths the Library of Congress has gone to make things accessible to the public.

Letters from an Iowa Soldier in the Civil War

The Devil's Den at Gettysburg National Military Park, American Civil War Battlefield, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, USA
It is rare to have a complete account of a single person’s time during the war.

When you’re removed from the cost of a war, it can be easy to lose sight of who fights. Letters from an Iowa Solider in the Civil War takes a deeply close look at one man’s experience through all four years of the war.

The Human Cost

Detail of Civil War Statue outside U.S.Capitol
Scott’s letters are mundane, heartbreaking, and embittered by all he’s been forced to leave behind.

Letters from an Iowa Soldier in the Civil War is a deeply personal account of Newton Robert Scott, as he writes to friends like Hannah Cone. You see his frustrations with life, sarcasm at all he’s missing, and the heartbreak he suffers when his sweetheart is betrothed to another man. Scott would survive the war, but the letters serve as a stark reminder that everyone loses something.

Civil War

Civil War Statue in Washington DC
Civil War is a fantastic site for history buffs.

If you’re new to the history of the Civil War, this is one website for you. Civil War is exactly what it says on the tin. The site takes a wider look at the many individual stories, battles, and news surrounding the American Civil War.

A Multimedia Experience

Cannon at the Gettysburg National Military Park, American Civil War Battlefield, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, USA
You aren’t stuck with just articles, you can also view things likevideos and maps.

Civil War isn’t content with being a cut-and-dry website where you read historical documents. Instead, you can find the likes of battle maps, reenactors, and tourism information. You can also read a few stories relating directly to the politics and social issues surrounding the war.

History’s Civil War Collection

The History Channel’s official site is still a great resource for would-be historians.

History.com isn’t the first choice for serious history buffs. However, everyone has to start somewhere. If you’ve got an interest in the American Civil War, the Civil War Collection found on the site can be a great place to start.

A Broad Look

Civil War Reenactment Campfire With American Flag
History Channel’s take on the war is condensed, but still worth a look.

I’m not the biggest proponent of pop history, but I can appreciate good starter material. History’s collection makes for one of the stronger Civil War history sites you’ll find online. It isn’t exhaustive by any means, but very few broad overviews of a war that was waged for four years are going to be.

Medicine in the American Civil War

Old primitive medical tools used for emergency surgery during the American Civil War. Many soldiers died from infection.
While it can be easy to think of medicine during the American Civil War as barbaric, it is more nuanced.

Rounding out our list of the top Civil War history sites you’ll find online is CPR Certified’s Medicine in the American Civil War. Medical care during the 19th century is a far cry from the modern niceties afforded to American servicemembers these days. It is important to have some perspective on what our forebears went through in the past.

Innovations Amid War

Civil War Tents
This site catalogs all of the brilliant innovations that took place during the war.

While sanitation and germ theory were not yet a thing during the American Civil War. That said, there were some notable innovations made in medicine. The American Civil War was the first conflict waged by the United States to see the use of anesthetics in limited quantities. This innovation was a great boon for those who were pioneering newer and safer methods of amputation.

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