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History: Primary Sources: Civil War

Tips, techniques & links to help you find answers for your research papers & projects

Official Records

Civil War in Missouri

Important Subject Headings

Use either the MERLIN catalog, the MOBIUS catalog, or the Worldcat database (links below) to search for the following Library of Congress Subject Headings - use a Subject Search rather than a keyword search, or incorporate words from these subject headings into a keyword search. You need not include the hyphens in these subject headings in your search; typing the words suffices.

Subject Headings for primary sources related to the Immediate Pre-Civil War Period

  • Constitutional History - United States - 19th century - Sources
  • Secession - Southern States - History - 19th century - Sources
  • Secession - Southern States - Sources
  • Slavery - Law and Legislation - History - 19th Century - Sources
  • United States - History - Civil War 1861-1865 - Causes - Sources
  • United States - Politics and Government - 1857-1861 - Sources

Some major subject Headings for primary sources related to aspects of the Civil War itself

  • United States - History - Civil War 1861-1865 - African Americans - Sources
  • United States - History - Civil War 1861-1865 - Antiquities [meaning, material archaeological objects such as battlefield relics, shipwrecks, etc.]
  • United States - History - Civil War 1861-1865 - Newspapers
  • United States - History - Civil War 1861-1865 - Pamphlets
  • United States - History - Civil War 1861-1865 - Participation - African American - Sources
  • United States - History - Civil War 1861-1865 - Personal Narratives*
  • United States - History - Civil War 1861-1865 - Regimental Histories*
  • United States - History - Civil War 1861-1865 - Registers of Dead
  • United States - History - Civil War 1861-1865 - Songs and Music
  • United States - History - Civil War 1861-1865 - Sources

 

*Several of these primary sources were self-consciously written as either memoir or history, after the fact. They are "primary sources" in that their authors were usually people involved in the described events, but they were usually written years or decades after the events, and may be self-serving and selective.

 

General rules for finding primary-source subject headings:

1. For well-known people, see if there is a subject heading by entering the name, surname first, as a SUBJECT search, e.g., Frémont, John Charles. Then, look for more specific subject headings such as Frémont, John Charles - Speeches in Congress or Frémont, John Charles - Correspondence  or Frémont, John Charles - Papers

2. For battles, do some keyword searching to identify the subject heading used to name a particular battle or campaign, and then look for specific subject headings such as Gettysburg - Battle of Gettysburg Pa 1863 - Sources. For a complete list of the 115 subject headings for individual Civil War battles and campaigns, do a subject search for United States History Civil War 1861-1865 Campaigns, and you will see a link to "115 Related Subjects (Lc)."

Online Papers