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.
CW - 150
The Civil War 150th Anniversary
Interesting facts, links, and suggested books for each month of the Civil War.
This Month's Events
- 2 September. Writing to his wife as the Confederates led by Lee and Jackson continue days of attacks, General Dorsey Pender of North Carolina comments on Jackson. "Lee has immortalized himself and Jackson added new laurels to his brow -- not that I like to be under Jackson, for he forgets that one ever gets tired, hungry, or sleepy."
- 8 September. Zebulon B. Vance becomes governor of North Carolina.
- 8 September. Captain William G. Morris, of the "Gaston Blues", 37th N. C., writes home to his family in Dallas from Maryland describing the troops living conditions and naming local men who have been killed. See The Civil War in North Carolina right.
- 13 September. McClellan sends a telegram to Lincoln: "I have all the plans of the rebels." How can he be so sure? A soldier from the 27th Indiana has found 3 cigars wrapped in a paper lying on a field where a Confederate officer has dropped them. The paper is a copy of Lee's orders meant for Daniel Harvey Hill.
- 15 September. General Stonewall Jackson captures the Union Arsenal at Harper's Ferry, Virginia (famous as the site of John Brown's raid), but it is reoccupied by the Union a week later.
- 17 September. Today's battle at Antietam (aka Sharpsburg), Maryland is a Union victory, but the cost on both sides is immense.
Among the casualties is Pennsylvania drummer boy Charley King, age 13, believed to be the youngest soldier on either side to die from combat wounds.
Arriving at the battlefield of Antietam during this bloodiest day in American history, a young woman brings a wagonload of supplies for treating the wounded and offers her services as a volunteer. At one point, as she raises a soldier's head to give him a drink of water, a bullet goes through her dress and kills the soldier. Two days after the battle she collapses from lack of sleep and typhoid fever. Her name is Clara Barton.
- 19 September. Another visitor to the battlefield arrives today. Alexander Gardner is a photographer working for Matthew Brady and he takes 70 pictures of the unburied dead -- the first such pictures taken on an American battlefield.
- 22 September. Lincoln issues a limited "emancipation proclamation", declaring that slaves in any area still in rebellion on January 1, 1863 will be declared free.
- 29 September. Jefferson Davis shoots Union General William Nelson in the lobby of a hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. No, not that Jefferson Davis! This is a Union general named Jefferson Davis. Davis is never punished for quarreling with and killing his ex-commanding officer and soon will be back on duty. He will survive the war and remain an Army officer.
- This month in England, Raphael Semmes takes command of the CSS Alabama and begins her 2 year cruise during which she will take 69 prizes.
This Month's Fiction
Ghost Riders by
Call Number: FIC MCC N.C.
Publication Date: 2003-07-14
As reenactors gather in the mountains of North Carolina, they are joined by ghostly presences. Actual events as described through the eyes of two historical figures -- Zebulon Vance, governor of North Carolina and a Unionist at heart who pledged his state to the Confederacy, and Malinda "Sam" Blalock, who impersonated a man in order to join her husband in the army.
Brothers at War by
Publication Date: 1996-10-01
The Henry brothers, Rob and Jamie, see the world from opposite, competitive points of view, especially concerning the object of their affections, Sarah Singleton. While the three are participating in a Civil War reenactment of the Battle of Antietam, they pose for an old-style photograph and mysteriously find themselves transported back to the real battle in 1862. In separate but intertwined adventures, the brothers find themselves on opposite sides while Sarah assists Clara Barton.
This Month's Non-Fiction
Zeb Vance by
Call Number: 975.6 MCK N.C.
Publication Date: 2004-09-13
An excellent biography that clearly supersedes earlier works.
War Governor of the South by
Call Number: 975.6 MOB
Publication Date: 2005-09-29
Zebulon B. Vance, governor of North Carolina during the devastating years of the Civil War, has long sparked controversy and spirited political comment among scholars.
Crossroads of Freedom - Antietam by
Call Number: 973.7 MCP
Publication Date: 2002-09-12
An appropriate selection for the publisher's "Pivotal Moments in American History" series, this pithy monograph by McPherson (history, Princeton) argues that the bloody clash at Antietam on September 17, 1862, in which over 6000 Union and Rebel troops perished, would ultimately determine the outcome of the Civil War.
Image of War by
Call Number: 973.7 THO
Publication Date: 1994-09-01
A reprint of a 1960 exploration of the visual representations of the Civil War created by contemporary illustrators, photographers, cartoonists, and commercial artists from the North, including examination of the way they worked, the kind of work they produced, and its impact. Includes both artists working on the home front, interpreting the issues and meaning of the war, and those serving as pictorial reporters in the field, abandoning the stereotypes they had brought with them as they confronted the realities of warfare. Excellently and interestingly written and thoroughly documented.
Drummer Boy by
Call Number: j973.7 TUR
Publication Date: 1998-08-01
In this historical picture book, a 13-year-old farm boy is so inspired when he hears President Lincoln make a speech that he runs away from home and joins the Union army as a drummer. Turner's cogent, first-person account follows him from the cornfields to the battlefields, where he learns to cope with the whizzing bullets, the shaking ground, and the screams of wounded soldiers and horses by concentrating on his job, on the beat of his drum. Although somewhat idealized, the boy's narrative does convey the battlefields as places of fear and death rather than glory. Although this is a Union soldier, the information on the role of drummer boys applies to both sides in the conflict. Gr. 3-5, somewhat younger for reading aloud.
©Copyright 2015, Gaston County Public Library. All Rights Reserved.