American Civil War Era

The American Civil War Era was one of political, social, sectional, economic, and racial tensions, predominately revolving around the issues of slavery and states rights. A major part of this era was the American Civil War (1861-1865), which broke out after the Confederate states seceded from the Union. The Union victory meant the reunification of the country and the abolition of slavery in the United States.

Explore the topics below to learn more about this period through newspaper articles and clippings.

Abraham Lincoln, 1863

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was an American statesman and lawyer who served as the 16th President of the United States from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. Lincoln led the United States through the American Civil War—its bloodiest war and perhaps its greatest moral, constitutional, and political crisis. …Read More

Supreme Court documents regarding the Amistad case [via Fold3]

Amistad Case

Background In 1839, a group of Africans from Sierra Leone were abducted and shipped to Havana, Cuba, to be sold as slaves. When they arrived in Cuba, two Spanish plantation owners, Pedro Montes and Jose Ruiz, illegally purchased 53 to work as slaves on their Caribbean plantation. They loaded the Africans aboard the Cuban schooner …Read More

Andersonville Prison, Georgia, August 1864

Andersonville Prison

The Andersonville National Historic Site, located near Andersonville, Georgia, preserves the former Camp Sumter (also known as Andersonville Prison), a Confederate prisoner-of-war camp during the final twelve months of the American Civil War. Most of the site lies in southwestern Macon County, adjacent to the east side of the town of Andersonville. The prison was …Read More

"The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln," by Currier & Ives, 1865

Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

President Abraham Lincoln was shot on April 14, 1865, around 10 o’clock at night while attending a play at Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC. The assassin, actor John Wilkes Booth, entered the Lincolns’ box and shot the president in the back of the head before jumping over the railing and down onto the stage. A …Read More

"Battle of Antietam," by Thure de Thulstrup

Battle of Antietam

The Battle of Antietam (also known as the Battle of Sharpsburg) was fought on September 17, 1862. The battle was a decisive engagement in the American Civil War and the bloodiest one-day battle in American history. Background The battle came at the end of the Maryland Campaign, an offensive led by Confederate General Robert E. …Read More

"Battle of Chancellorsville," by Kurz and Allison

Battle of Chancellorsville

The Battle of Chancellorsville (April 30–May 6, 1863) was a Civil War battle fought in Spotsylvania County, Virginia. It ended in a Confederate victory and is often considered General Robert E. Lee’s “perfect battle,” as he successfully defeated an army more than twice the size of his own. Background & Union Strategy In April 1863, …Read More

Battle of Gettysburg

Battle of Gettysburg

The Battle of Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1863) was the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. It took place around Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and is often considered the turning point of the war. Following a series of military successes in Virginia, Confederate general Robert E. Lee took his troops up into south-central Pennsylvania in June 1863 in an invasion of …Read More

Clara Barton

Clara Barton (December 25, 1821 – April 12, 1912) was an American nurse and Civil War hero known for founding the American Red Cross. Early Life Clarissa Harlowe Barton was born in Oxford, Massachusetts, on Christmas Day, 1821, the youngest of five children. Her interest in medical care is often attributed to an early experience …Read More

"First Battle of Bull Run," by Kurz & Allison

First Battle of Bull Run

Summary On July 21, 1861, the Confederates defeated the Union army in the First Battle of Bull Run (also called the First Battle of Manassas), the first major conflict of the American Civil War. The battle would signal to both sides that the war would be longer and bloodier than either had anticipated. Background In …Read More