This guide is designed to assist researchers investigating the history and culture of the American Civil War. The resources included in this guide cover both Union and Confederate viewpoints and materials. It primarily covers the years 1861-1865 with some materials related to the decades after the War’s conclusion. The majority of the included resources can be found at UNC's Wilson Special Collections Library and many can also be found online. This guide does not list all of the materials about the American Civil War held at Wilson Special Collections Library, but is intended to serve as a starting point for research.
Each subtopic addresses a line of inquiry for getting started on research. However, the separation of subtopics does not mean there is no interaction or overlap between subtopics. For example, sources about or made by women and African Americans can be found across multiple subtopics. Women and African Americans were involved with and wrote about all aspects of the American Civil War. Focused subtopics are meant to aid with starting research, not to separate these resources from others concerning the Civil War.
While this is a reference for special collections material, this guide will also provide assistance and suggestions for other kinds of research materials across the UNC libraries. As with the rest of the guide, the list of secondary sources and databases is not meant to be comprehensive, but is intended to serve as a starting point for research.
General Resources: overview resources concerning the American Civil War.
Maps, Music, & Ephemera: resources from UNC's Wilson Special Collections Library.
Soldiers & Camp Life: resources concerning individual soldiers and officers, generally related to battlefield and camp experience.
Politicians & Government: resources concerning politicians and government affairs.
Women & the Homefront: resources concerning individuals and affairs at home, plus women’s participation in and observations about the Civil War.
Medicine: resources concerning medical care, hospitals, and medical practitioners.
African Americans: resources concerning African American participation in and observations of the Civil War. Also includes sources on slavery and emancipation.
North Carolina: resources concerning the history of North Carolina and the Civil War.
Remembering the Civil War: resources concerning memory and memorialization of the Civil War.
Registering & Requesting Materials: this page provides details about visiting Wilson Special Collections Library at UNC-Chapel Hill.
This guide was created in Summer 2018 by Emma Rothberg and subsequently updated by Sarah Carrier.