Civil War Resources

Decades of simmering tensions between the northern and southern United States over issues including states' rights versus federal authority, westward expansion and slavery exploded into the American Civil War on April 12, 1861 with the Battle of Fort Sumter.  By the time it ended with the Confederate surrender in 1865, the Civil War proved to be the costliest war ever fought on American soil, with some 620,000 of 2.4 million soldiers killed, millions more injured and the population and territory of the South devastated.

McKendree University, then McKendree College, was swept up in the turmoil.  So many McKendree faculty and students volunteered to fight in the Civil War between 1861 and 1865 that the college almost had to close.  The 117th Regiment of Illinois Volunteers was called the "McKendree" regiment since the majority of troops were from McKendree College.

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Let's Talk About It: Making Sense of the American Civil War Discussion

Let’s Talk About It: Making Sense of the American Civil War, a reading and discussion series, has been made possible through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association.


The following is a list of resources developed to commemorate the Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War and our community's role in that deadly conflict.

Online Exhibitions

Library of Congress - From Slavery to Civil Rights: A Timeline of African

American History

Library of Congress - Variety of collections on: Civil War and Reconstruction,

Virginia Historical Society - An American Turning Point: The Civil War in Virginia

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center - Online exhibit of Frederick
Douglass’ documents

Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History - Online Exhibition: John Brown the Abolitionist and His Legacy

Frederick Douglass National Historic Site - Virtual Museum Exhibit

Boston College - First-Hand: Civil War Era Drawings from the Becker Collection


The National Endowment for the Humanities’ EDSITEment website is offered in partnership with the Verizon Foundation and the National Trust for the Humanities, and is a proud member of the Thinkfinity Consortium of premier educational websites. EdSITEment features sections on the American Civil War

The American Civil War

Literature of the Civil War

Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History -History by Era: The Civil War Era

Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History - Civil War 150th

New York Times – Opinionator’s “Disunion” series
Exclusive online commentary revisiting and reconsidering America's most perilous period -- using contemporary accounts, diaries, images and historical assessments to follow the Civil War as it unfolded.

National Park Service
The Civil War: 150 Years (National Park Service Sesquicentennial Commemoration)
Features include: Nationwide calendar of CW150 events, information about Civil War Parks, access to database of Civil War Soldiers, more in-depth information about the War

Pioneering Digital History Resources
Valley of the Shadow
Edward L. Ayers

Hidden Patterns of the Civil War
Digital Scholarship Lab, University of Richmond

Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History -History by Era: The Civil War Era

McKendree University's Civil War Story


The Civil War: A Film by Ken Burns (1990, PBS)

Glory (1989, Tristar)

Reconstruction: The Second Civil War (1992, PBS)

Frederick Douglass: When the Lion Wrote History (1994, PBS)

The Time of the Lincolns (2001, PBS)

Ulysses S. Grant (2002, PBS American Experience)

Robert E. Lee (2011, PBS American Experience)