The Civil War Shop: Civil War Memoirs, Letters & Diaries

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Browse this varied list of firsthand accounts by soldiers and folks on the Home Front.

What's the Little Red House for?

Jasper County Yankee: Campaigns of the 38th Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Company K; Written by William Elwood PATTERSON, 1861-1863

Otsego County in the Civil War: Firsthand Accounts of War Experiences icon

When Will This Cruel War Be Over?: The Civil War Diary of Emma SIMPSON, Gordonsville, Virginia, 1864

Serving with Honor: The Diary of Captain Eathan Allen PINNELL, Eighth Missouri Infantry (Confederate) icon

The Civil War in North Carolina, Volume 1: The Piedmont - Soldiers’ and Civilians’ Letters and Diaries, 1861–1865e

Confederate Memoirs: Alamance County Troops of the War Between the States, 1861-1865

Brothers in Gray: The Civil War Letters of the PIERSON Family icon

A Union Woman in Civil War Kentucky: The Diary of Frances PETER

Quill of the Wild Goose: Civil War Letters and Diaries of Private Joel MOLYNEUX, 141st Pennsylvania Volunteers icon

Under Custer's Command: The Civil War Journal of James Henry AVERY

In Song and Sorrow: the Daily Journal of Thomas Hart Benton McCAIN, 86th Indiana Volunteer Infantry icon

Genealogical Notes of the CARPENTER Family Including the Autobiography, and Personal Reminiscences of Dr. Seymour D. CARPENTER, Lieutenant Colonel in the War for the Union

Campaigning with Parson's Texas Cavalry, C. S. A.

Whispers from the Past: A Source Book of Civil War Veterans' Personal Histories

My Cave Life in Vicksburg

Hardtack and Hardship: The Life And Times Of Confederate Veteran James A. ROARK And His Family, The Story Of A Southern Family Before, During and After The War Between The States

A Tarheel Confederate and His Family icon

Confederate Letters of John W. HAGAN

Bluegrass Confederate: The Headquarters Diary of Edward O. GUERRANT

Recollections of a Rebel Reefer

Under the Guns: A Woman's Reminiscences of the Civil War

War Was The Place: A Centennial Collection of Confederate Soldier Letters along with Old Oakbowery, Chambers County, Alabama

The Boy in Gray: a Story of the War icon(1894) George Gillman SMITH Memoir, Phillips' Legion, GA, CSA

A Soldier's Story of His Regiment (61st Georgia) and Incidentally of the Lawton-Gordon-Evans Brigade Army of Northern Virginia icon

Two Germans in the Civil War: The Diary of John DAEUBLE and the Letters of Gottfried RENTSCHLER, 6th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry (Voices of the Civil War Series)

The Civil War Diary of Allen Morgan GEER, Twentieth Regiment, Illinois Volunteers

Dear Friends at Home: The Civil War Letters and Diaries of Sergeant Charles T. BOWEN...

1861 to 1865, by an Old Johnnie. Personal Reminiscences and Experiences in the Confederate Army
By James DINKINS of BARKSDALE's Mississippi Brigade

Voices from Company D: Diaries by the Greensboro Guards, Fifth Alabama Infantry Regiment, Army of Northern Virginia icon

The Civil War Letters of W. D. CARR of Duplin County, North Carolina

Our Pen is Time: The Diary of Emma FINLEY: A Memoir of Social Life in Holly Springs, Mississippi on the Eve of the Civil War icon

Civil War Women: the Diaries of Belle STRICKLAND and Cora Harris WATSON: Holly Springs, Mississippi July 25, 1864-June 22 1868 icon

Rebel Brothers: The Civil War Letters of the TRUEHEARTs icon

Gideon LINCECUM's Sword: Civil War Letters from the Texas Home Front icon

Journey to Pleasant Hill: The Civil War Letters of Captain Elijah P. PETTY, Walker's Texas Division, CSA icon

C. S. S. Shenandoah: The Memoirs of Lt. Commanding James I. WADDELL

Recollections of Henry Watkins ALLEN

Fallen Leaves: The Civil War Letters of Major Henry Livermore ABBOTT icon
20th MA Infantry

The Memoirs of Allen Buckner: Colonel of the 79th Illinois Volunteer Regiment in the Civil War icon

This Infernal War: The Confederate Letters of Sgt. Edwin H. FAY icon

My Dear Nellie: The Civil War Letters of William L. NUGENT to Eleanor Smith NUGENT icon

War Reminiscences by the Surgeon of Mosby's Command icon

On to Atlanta: The Civil War Diaries of John Hill FERGUSON, Illinois Tenth Regiment of Volunteers icon

The 16th Mississippi Infantry: Civil War Letters and Reminiscences

The Painful News I Have to Write: Letters and Diaries of Four HITE Brothers of Page County in the Service of the Confederacy icon

Texas, the Dark Corner of the Confederacy: Contemporary Accounts of the Lone Star State in the Civil War icon

Civil War Recollections of James Lemuel CLARK: Including Previously Unpublished Material on the Great Hanging at Gainesville, Texas in October, 1862 icon

From the Pen of a She-Rebel: The Civil War Diary of Emilie Riley McKINLEY icon

A Very Violent Rebel: The Civil War Diary of Ellen Renshaw HOUSE icon

Myra INMAN: A Diary of the Civil War in East Tennessee icon

Civil War Letters of the TENURE Family: Rockland County, N.Y., 1862-1865

Chickamauga, Andersonville, Fort Sumter and Guard Duty at Home: Four Civil War Diaries by Pennsylvania Soldiers icon

Cannon Smoke: The Letters of Captain John J. GOOD, GOOD - DOUGLAS TX Battery, CSA

To See My Country Free: The Pocket Diaries of Ezekiel ARMSTRONG, Ezekiel P. MILLER and Joseph A. MILLER, "Magnolia Guards," Co. K, 17th Regiment Mississippi Infantry

Hurrah for the Texans: Civil War Letters of George W. INGRAM

Partisan Life with Col. John S. MOSBY

The Diary of Caroline SEABURY, 1854-1863
"In 1854 Caroline Seabury of Brooklyn, New York set out for Columbus, Mississippi to teach French at its institute for young ladies. She lived in Columbus until 1863. This diary is an illuminating account of southern plantation society and the "peculiar institution" of slavery on the eve of its destruction."

Oh, What a Loansome Time I Had: The Civil War Letters of Major William Morel MOXLEY, Eighteenth Alabama Infantry, and Emily Beck MOXLEY

Kiss Sweet Little Lillah for Me: Civil War Letters of William Thomas JACKSON, Company A, Eighth Alabama Regiment

The Journal of Julia LeGRAND, New Orleans 1862-1863

Civil War Letters: The ALLEN Family, Amherst County, Virginia

Personal Recollections of Early Decatur, Abraham Lincoln, Richard J. Oglesby, and the Civil War icon
(1912) By Jane Martin JOHNS; Macon County, Illinois

My Diary, North and South icon

Annals of Augusta County, Virginia Or Diary of Civil War Home Life in Augusta County, Virginia icon

A Lost Heroine of the Confederacy: The Diaries and Letters of Belle EDMONDSON icon

Prisoner of the Rebels in Texas: The Civil War Narrative of Aaron T. SUTTON, Corporal, 83rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry icon

Autobiography of John G. FEE icon

The Civil War Diary of Cyrus F. BOYD: Fifteenth Iowa Infantry, 1861-1863 icon

Battle Field and Prison Pen, Or Through the War, and Thrice a Prisoner in Rebel Dungeons icon
(1882) by John W. URBAN. 1st Regt. Pennsylvania Infantry, Co. D.

Westward the Texans: The Civil War Journal of Private William Randolph HOWELL

Rebels on the Rio Grande: The Civil War Journal of A. B. PETICOLAS icon

The 16th Mississippi Infantry: Civil War Letters and Reminiscences icon

Reminiscences of Confederate Service 1861-1865 icon
by Francis DAWSON, a British subject

Kemper County Rebel: The Civil War Diary of Robert Masten HOLMES... icon

For Country, Cause & Leader: the Civil War Journal of Charles B. HAYDON icon

The Civil War Diary of Clara SOLOMON: Growing Up in New Orleans, 1861-1862 icon

Four Years in the First New York Light Artillery: The Papers of David F. RITCHIE icon

Memoirs of General William Henry Harrison BEADLE icon
(1906) He served with the First Michigan Sharpshooters.

Three Years With WALLACE's Zouaves-the Civil War Memoirs of Thomas Wise DURHAM icon

Ebb Tide, as Seen Through the Diary of Josephine Clay HABERSHAM, 1863 icon

The Boy in Gray: a Story of the War icon
(1894) George Gillman SMITH, Phillips' Legion, Georgia C. S. A.

From Alibris: Reminiscences of the Civil War icon
by John Brown GORDON

A Plantation Mistress on the Eve of the Civil War: the Diary of Keziah Goodwyn Hopkins BREVARD, 1860-1861 icon

A New Canaan Private in the Civil War; Letters of Justus M. SILLIAN, 17th Connecticut Volunteers

Journal of the Seventeenth National Encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic, Denver, Col. , July 25th, 1883 icon

  Personal Record of the Thirteenth Regiment, Tennessee Infantry icon

Thirty Years After: an Artist's Memoir of the Civil War icon
by Edwin FORBES

  Sarah MORGAN: The Civil War Diary Of A Southern Woman
Sarah MORGAN kept a wonderfully detailed diary of her experiences in Civil War Louisiana. This is a great firsthand account of their daily lives at home in Baton Rouge and in New Orleans,  or on the road, fleeing Union troops and gunboats. One brother was a union sympathizer and another fought for the Confederacy. A third brother was killed tragically in a duel: his death haunts the diary throughout. Her father's untimely death early in the war also affects her profoundly and leaves her feeling especially vulnerable. The reader follows her emotions through great pride and righteous anger through the darkest depths. Sarah, her mother and sister had to leave their home in Baton Rouge and spent many days traveling from one place to another, and Sarah describes vividly the great variety of people and situations they encounter. She was both articulate and well-read.

Sarah's diary is also a look at 19th century life in the South: relations with family, friends, and romantic interests. Entertainment and pastimes are described in detail.

One quote I especially like, because here she models that fierce patriotism that Southern women were often known for:

"If some few Southern women were in the ranks, they could set the men an example they would not blush to follow. Pshaw! there are no women here! We are all men!"

I bought this because Sarah Morgan (1842-1909) was 8 years older than my great-grandmother Mary Virginia Dowdy (1850-1921), who lived in West Tennessee (Fayette Co.). It was a way for me to get - perhaps - a glimpse into what the times were like for girls and young women in the occupied South.  I'm sure Sarah's view is distinctly individual, as any one person's experience would be, but perhaps she speaks at least in part for her contemporaries who grew up in wartime.

NOTE: f you want to read Sarah's diary online for free, you will find it here, courtesy of Documenting the American South at the University of North Carolina.

On the Altar of Freedom: a Black Soldier's Civil War Letters From the Front icon
by James Henry GOODING of the 54th Massachusetts regiment

Tennessee's War, 1861-1865, Described By Participants icon

Confederate Scrapbook icon

The Civil War Reminiscences of Major Silas T. GRISAMORE, C. S. A. icon

War Reminiscences of Columbus Mississippi and Elsewhere 1861-1865 icon

Reminiscences of the Civil Waricon
by General John Brown GORDON

Confederate Women of Arkansas in the Civil War 1861-1865 Memorial Reminiscences icon

Destruction and Reconstruction: Personal Experiences of the Late War icon
by Confederate General Richard TAYLOR

Civil War Marine: a diary of the Red River expedition, 1864 icon

Story of a Cannoneer Under Stonewall Jackson
Edward Alexander MOORE

Dear Darling Loulie, Letters of Cordelia Lewis SCALES to Loulie W. IRBY During and After the War Between the States icon

Richmond During the War; Four Years of Personal Observation, [By a Richmond Lady]

Diary of a Yankee Engineer/1st New York Volunteer Engineer Corps icon

Siege Train: the Journal of a Confederate Artilleryman in the Defense of Charleston icon

Recollections of a Civil War Quartermaster. the Autobiography of William G. Le DUC icon

A Life for the Confederacy, as Recorded in the Pocket Diaries of Pvt. Robert A. MOORE icon
Marshall County, Mississippi

Two years on the Alabama icon  
A vibrant portrait the famous Confederate cruiser whose record during the Civil War made her the most successful raider of all time."

Search Alibris for Experiences of a Georgia Boy in the Army of Northern Virginia 1861-1865 icon
by Martin W. BRETT

Personal Recollections, 1849-1865 icon 
by Jane Martin JOHNS

Search Alibris for Dear Ones at Home; Letters from Contraband Camps icon

Kentucky Cavaliers in Dixie: Reminiscences of a Confederate Cavalryman

A Southern Boy in Blue: The Memoir of Marcus Woodcock, 9th Kentucky Infantry (U.S.A.)

A War to Petrify the Heart: The Civil War Letters of a Dutchess County, N.Y. Volunteer
"Great eye-witness account of Hudson Valley recruits in the Civil War. Van Wyck's service included Gettysburg and Sherman's campaign. Almost 200 letters from the same soldier--with historical background, photos and editorial review."

Things Grew Beautifully Worse: The Wartime Experiences of Captain John O'Brien, 30th Arkansas Infantry, C.S.A.

The ALFORD Brothers: "We all must dye sooner or later."
Daviess County; "The Alford Brothers contains a compelling story of three brothers from Alfordsville, Indiana, who serve -- and die -- in the American Civil War. The story is told with 196 family letters: letters written by five brothers, two sisters, a father, a mother, aunts, uncles, cousins, a doctor, and a commanding officer. The letters cover the period May 1861 to October 1862 -- the Civil War service of the oldest brother.
The Civil War, of course, is the central issue. The three oldest Alford brothers relate their daily experiences as soldiers, one brother in the east with the 14th Indiana Infantry and two in the west with the 6th Indiana Infantry. Their combined activities include service in four major military campaigns: western Virginia in 1861, then the Shenandoah Valley, Shiloh and Antietam in 1862.

Soldier Boy: The Civil War Letters of Charles O. MUSSER, 29th Iowa

Such Are the Trials: The Civil War Diaries of Jacob GANTZ
4th Iowa Cavalry 

The Civil War in Apacheland: Sergeant George Hand's Diary, California, Arizona, West Texas, New Mexico, 1861-1864

Fighting With the Eighteenth Massachusetts: The Civil War Memoir of Thomas H. Mann

  A Mississippi Rebel in the Army of Northern Virginia 
Recommended! "
The engaging memoir of an upper-class white man coming of age during the Civil War and surviving the major campaigns of Robert E. Lee in Northern Virginia. Holt speculates on the social customs of the ante- bellum south, including its agonized reaction to secession. However, it is his poignant, dramatic, and graphic accounts of the ordinary Confederate soldier in battle and camp which makes the memoir memorable and historically valuable. "

Campbell Brown's Civil War: With EWELL and the Army of Northern Virginia

One of Custer's Wolverines: The Civil War Letters of Brevet Brigadier General James H. KIDD, 6th Michigan Cavalry icon

Riding With Custer: Recollections of a Cavalryman in the Civil War

Quest for a Star: The Civil War Letters and Diaries of Colonel Francis T. Sherman of the 88th Illinois

The Civil War Diary of Sarah Morgan

A Texas Cavalry Officer's Civil War: The Diary and Letters of James C. BATES
9th Texas Cavalry

The Heart of a Soldier: Intimate Wartime Letters from General George E. Pickett C.S.A. to His Wife

Life in the Confederate Army, Being the Observations and Experiences of an Alien in the South During the American Civil War  
(William WATSON)

Letters from a Sharpshooter: The Civil War Letters of William B. Greene, Co. G 2nd United States Sharpshooters (Berdan's) Army of the Potomac 1861-1865

Bound to Be a Soldier: The Letters of Private James T. MILLER, 111th Pennsylvania Infantry, 1861-1864

Gunner With Stonewall: Reminiscences of William Thomas POAGUE icon

The Civil War Letters of the Late 1st Lieut. James J. HARTLEY, 122nd Ohio Infantry Regiment

Doctor to the Front: The Recollections of Confederate Surgeon Thomas Fanning Wood, 1861-1865

Campaigning With Grant  
Horace PORTER's Civil War Memoir

Ten Months in the 'Orphan Brigade:' Conrade Wise Chapman's Civil War Memoir

A Wisconsin Boy in Dixie: Civil War Letters of James K. Newton

Let Us Meet in Heaven: The Civil War Letters of James Michael Barr, 5th South Carolina Cavalry

    Three Months in the Southern States :...
 Recommended! A personal favorite! By Arthur J. L. Fremantle

  Co. Aytch: A Confederate's Memoir...
The best!
If you have any interest in the Civil War, whether it's in Yankees or Rebs, read this book by Sam WATKINS! 

Advance and Retreat: Personal Experiences...
General John Bell Hood's memoir.

From Manassas to Appomattox: Memoirs of the Civil War in America 
General James Longstreet's memoir.

   Rebel Private: Front and Rear: Memoirs of William A. FLETCHER

 Memoirs of the Confederate War for Independence by Heros Von Borcke

Berry Benson's Civil War Book: Memoirs of a Confederate Scout and Sharpshooter  
Benson served as a scout for General Lee and spent time in Elmira Prison.

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