Getting Your Civil War Fix

Published:December 16, 2009 by Brendan Wolfe

Map of the Battlefield of Fredericksburg and Environs, 1863

In his recent military history, John Keegan writes, “The American Civil War is one of the most mysterious great wars of history . . .” We’re never done exploring that mystery, especially in these sesquicentennial years, and now the Library of Virginia offers a new and useful research tool: the Civil War Research Guide.

The Library of Virginia houses a large collection of manuscripts, published materials, photographs, broadsides, newspapers, maps, and prints pertaining to the Civil War. The manuscript collections range from single items to much-larger collections of thousands of items. The collections represent both Confederate and Union sides and include topics relating to secession, specific battles and regiments, camp life, Reconstruction and the Restored government, slavery, and veteran organizations. In order to find materials on specific topics it is necessary to conduct a combination of searches to find the materials you seek. Library of Virginia reference staff members suggest that you search the following catalogs . . .

The database of maps is particularly cool. The one pictured above is of Fredericksburg and dated 1863. Here’s our entry on the first Battle of Fredericksburg; the second battle, part of the Chancellorsville Campaign, will have its own entry, as well. It’s being edited now.