Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era by Filled with fresh interpretations and information, puncturing old myths and challenging new ones, Battle Cry of Freedom will unquestionably become the standard one-volume history of the Civil War.
James McPherson's fast-paced narrative fully integrates the political, social, and military events that crowded the two decades from the outbreak of one war in Mexico to the ending of another at Appomattox. Packed with drama and analytical insight, the book vividly recounts the momentous episodes that preceded the Civil War--the Dred Scott decision, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry--and then moves into a masterful chronicle of the war itself--the battles, the strategic maneuvering on both sides, the politics, and the personalities. Particularly notable are McPherson's new views on such matters as the slavery expansion issue in the 1850s, the origins of the Republican Party, the causes of secession, internal dissent and anti-war opposition in the North and the South, and the reasons for the Union's victory.
The book's title refers to the sentiments that informed both the Northern and Southern views of the conflict: the South seceded in the name of that freedom of self-determination and self-government for which their fathers had fought in 1776, while the North stood fast in defense of the Union founded by those fathers as the bulwark of American liberty. Eventually, the North had to grapple with the underlying cause of the war--slavery--and adopt a policy of emancipation as a second war aim. This "new birth of freedom," as Lincoln called it, constitutes the proudest legacy of America's bloodiest conflict.
This authoritative volume makes sense of that vast and confusing "second American Revolution" we call the Civil War, a war that transformed a nation and expanded our heritage of liberty.
Call Number: E470.M44 1988
Publication Date: 1988
Disunion! : The Coming of the American Civil War, 1789-1859 by In the decades of the early republic, Americans debating the fate of slavery often invoked the specter of disunion to frighten their opponents. As Elizabeth Varon shows, "disunion" connoted the dissolution of the republic--the failure of the founders' effort to establish a stable and lasting representative government. For many Americans in both the North and the South, disunion was a nightmare, a cataclysm that would plunge the nation into the kind of fear and misery that seemed to pervade the rest of the world. For many others, however, disunion was seen as the main instrument by which they could achieve their partisan and sectional goals. Varon blends political history with intellectual, cultural, and gender history to examine the ongoing debates over disunion that long preceded the secession crisis of 1860-61.
Publication Date: 2008
Jews and the Civil War: A Reader In Jews and the Civil War, essays from top scholars are grouped into seven sections—Jews and Slavery, Jews and Abolition, Rabbis and the March to War, Jewish Soldiers during the Civil War, The Home Front, Jews as a Class, and Aftermath-each with an introduction by the editors. It covers the impact of the war on Jews (both soldiers and civilians) in the North and the South and includes resources for further reading.
Lincoln's Lieutenants by The High Command of the Army of the Potomac was a changeable, often dysfunctional band of brothers, going through the fires of war under seven commanding generals in three years, until Grant came east in 1864. The men in charge all too frequently appeared to be fighting against the administration in Washington instead of for it, increasingly cast as political pawns facing down a vindictive congressional Committee on the Conduct of the War. President Lincoln oversaw, argued with, and finally tamed his unruly team of generals as the eastern army was stabilized by an unsung supporting cast of corps, division, and brigade generals. With characteristic style and insight, Stephen Sears brings these courageous, determined officers, who rose through the ranks and led from the front, to life and legend.
Call Number: E470 .S43 2017
Publication Date: 2017
A Ruined Land by In a fascinating approach that allows the voices of those touched by the Civil War to speak for themselves, gifted writer Michael Golay shows the impact of victory and defeat on the ordinary Americans who both influenced events and were caught up in them. Using illuminating new material, much of it previously unpublished, Golay takes a unique perspective by interweaving personal histories of soldiers and civilians with the larger events of the Civil War. Among the events of this bitter conflict, Golay illuminates the impact of Sherman's march through Georgia and the Carolinas, the despair caused by the assassination of Lincoln, the first bitter weeks of armistice, the immediate postwar life in a devastated, chaotic South, and the promise of freedom for African American slaves. Through the letters, diaries, and other literary remains of those who experienced the war, we gain a vivid, panoramic look at the effects of a bitter struggle and at the efforts of both sides to work toward a solution to problems where effective answers were elusive.
Call Number: E468.9.G68 1999
Publication Date: 1999
The Thin Light of Freedom by Drawn from personal correspondence of people located in the Great Valley Counties of Augusta, Virginia, and Franklin, Pennsylvania, a ground level perspective of how the war and emancipation affected those living there.
Call Number: E470.2 .A94 2017
Publication Date: 2017
Other Relevant Topics
Dred Scott Case: Topic Page
Argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1856–57; It involved the then bitterly contested issue of the status of slavery in the federal territories.
Dred Scott Decision: Topic Page
US Supreme Court decision of 1857 which denied ‘blacks’ (African Americans) US citizenship and made slavery legal in all US territories.
Gettysburg Address: Topic Page
Speech delivered by Abraham Lincoln on Nov. 19, 1863, at the dedication of the national cemetery on the Civil War battlefield of Gettysburg, Pa.; It is one of the most famous and most quoted of modern speeches.
The Ku Klux Klan: Topic Page
The first Ku Klux Klan was an organization that thrived in the South during the Reconstruction period following the Civil War.
Reconstruction: Topic Page
1865–77, in U.S. history, the period of readjustment following the Civil War.
Yankee: Topic Page
Term used by Americans generally in reference to a native of New England and by non-Americans, especially the British, in reference to an American of any section.
Places of the Civil War
From Encyclopedia of the American Civil War: A Political, Social, and Military History
Between February 1864 and May 1865, 45,613 United States prisoners were held at Andersonville, and nearly 13,000 men died there.
Fort Sumter: Topic Page
Fortification, built 1829–60, on a shoal at the entrance to the harbor of Charleston, S.C., and named for Gen. Thomas Sumter; scene of the opening engagement of the Civil War.
Georgia: Topic Page
A state on the SE coast of the USA. A supporter of the Confederate cause in the US Civil War, it suffered considerable damage during Gen Sherman's March to the Sea (1864).
Confederacy: Topic Page
Name commonly given to the Confederate States of America (1861-65), the government established by the Southern states of the United States after their secession from the Union.
Richmond (VA): Topic Page
Capital and seaport of Virginia, on the James River, 336 km/209 mi from its mouth on the Atlantic, 160 km/100 mi south of Washington, DC; population (2000 est) 197,800. It is a major tobacco market and a distribution, commercial, and financial center for the surrounding region.
Battles and Events
Atlanta Campaign: Topic Page
Important series of battles in the American Civil War in Georgia (May-September 1864).
Bull Run: Topic Page
The first battle of Bull Run (or first battle of Manassas) was the first major engagement of the Civil War.
First Battle of Bull Run (1861): Topic Page
Manassas Junction, Virginia, was the magnet that attracted the armies of North and South to the banks of Bull Run in July 1861. There two railroads, the Manassas Gap and the Orange & Alexandria, connected thirty miles southwest of Washington, D.C.
Second Battle of Bull Run (1862): Topic Page
Following the end of the Peninsula campaign, General Robert E. Lee sent Stonewall Jackson north with 24,000 men to watch the new Federal Army of Virginia, led by Major General John Pope.
Draft Riots: Topic Page
The Union Conscription Act of Mar. 3, 1863, provided that all able-bodied males between the ages of 20 and 45 were liable to military service.
Battle of Gettysburg: Topic Page
Site of one of the decisive battles of the American Civil War: a Confederate defeat by Union forces 1-3 July 1863.
Wilderness Campaign: Topic Page
In the American Civil War, a series of engagements (May–June, 1864) fought in the Wilderness region of Virginia. Early in May, 1864, the Northern commander in chief, Grant, led the Army of the Potomac (118,000 strong) across the Rapidan River into the Wilderness, a wild and tangled woodland c.10 mi (16 km) W of Fredericksburg.
Seven Days' Battle: Topic Page
During the American Civil War, successful Confederate campaign June-July 1862 to drive back Union forces threatening Richmond, Virginia.
Trent Affair: Topic Page
Incident in the diplomatic relations between the United States and Great Britain, which occurred during the American Civil War.
African-Americans: Topic Page
Americans descended from African forebears, usually those enslaved and brought to the USA before the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation.
Clara Barton (1821 - 1912): Topic Page
Though best known for founding and leading the American Red Cross in the late nineteenth century, Clara Barton contributed all of her energies to helping the Union soldiers during the Civil War—from the arrival of the first soldiers in Washington, DC, in April 1861, through the war's aftermath and the grim task of identifying the unknown war dead.
Jefferson Davis (1808 - 1889): Topic Page
American statesman, President of the Southern Confederacy.
W.E.B. Du Bois (c.1868 - 1963): Topic Page
William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was a visionary, strategic organizer, and prolific writer who tirelessly advocated, and often agitated, for racial, economic, and gender equality as well as peace with social justice.
John Rockefeller (1839 - 1937): Topic Page
US millionaire industrialist and philanthropist; He was the founder of Standard Oil in 1870, from which were descended four of the world's largest oil companies - Amoco, Chevron, Exxon, and Mobil.
William Tecumseh Sherman (1820 - 1891): Topic Page
1820–91, Union general in the American Civil War; Sherman is said by many to be the greatest of the Civil War generals.
Sojourner Truth (c.1797 - c.1883): Topic Page
US antislavery and women's-suffrage campaigner; A former slave, she ran away and became involved with religious groups.
Harriet Tubman (1821 - 1913): Topic Page
US abolitionist; Born a slave in Maryland, she escaped to Philadelphia (where slavery was outlawed) in 1849. She helped set up the Underground Railroad.