Civil War Newspapers

Civil War newspaper greatly enlarged for an exhibit at Gettysburg. Further down the page, you'll see an original page of this same newspaper that we had framed for my father.

Newspapers in the Civil War Era

Newspapers provided vital news to troops about what actually was happening in the Civil War. There were plenty of rumors picked up from other soldiers, but it was good to get solid information.

 

civil war newspaper

1863 newspaper (photo by Virginia Allain)

For the wives and parents back home, the newspaper was eagerly read searching for news about war activities that affected their loved one in the service.

I’ve provided links to Civil War newspapers online, articles about journalists and publishing and included fascinating images from the Civil War era.

Selling Newspapers to the Troops in the Civil War

Remember that at this time in American history, there were no phones, no radios, no television, no Internet, so news traveled by word-of-mouth or by the printed page (the newspaper).

1863 newspaper vendor at Virginia camp.

Civil War Newspapers Online – for your reading and research

If you’re researching the Civil War, you’ll love this indexed newspaper files. You can enlarge them to read online.

Books That Reprint Civil War Newspapers – or tell the stories behind collecting the news during the war

 

 Fighting Words: An Illustrated History Of Newspaper Accounts Of The Civil War WAR NEWS: Blue & Gray in Black & White: Newspapers in the Civil War Civil War Newspaper Maps: A Historical Atlas Fanatics and Fire-eaters: Newspapers and the Coming of the Civil War (The History of Communication) The Moving Appeal: Mr. McClanahan, Mrs. Dill, and the Civil War’s Great Newspaper Run Witness to the Civil War: First-Hand Accounts from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper The New York Times: Complete Civil War, 1861-1865 (Book & CD)

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Civil War newspaper greatly enlarged for an exhibit at Gettysburg. Further down the page, you’ll see an original page of this same newspaper that we had framed for my father.

Read Civil War Newspapers Online

andersonville newspaper

Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper with sketches of emaciated Andersonville prisoners.

What You Might Find in the Old Newspapers

I found a newspaper online from December 1864 that described the Andersonville prisoners being paroled and taken onto the steamer, New York, for transport to Maryland. This is the right time for my ancestor’s release from Andersonville, so I read the full-page article with him in mind.

There were heart-wrenching sketches with the story that showed the emaciated prisoners on the deck of the steamship. One of those could have been my great-great grandfather.

Christmas 1987_Clyde_2

Clyde Martin with his original, framed newspaper featuring Lincoln’s assassination.

My father was thrilled one Christmas to receive a framed newspaper about Lincoln’s death. He had long been a collector of books about Abraham Lincoln. It was an interest that dated back to his childhood when he read a biography that made a big impression on him.

The family went together to purchase the newspaper and get it framed so it could be viewed both front and back. He loved this addition to his Lincoln collection.

Although the issue shows its age of over 150 years, it is a treasure to be preserved.

Background Information on Newspapers, Journalism and Printing – during the Civil War

I found the description interesting of how a story was collected in the field, then sent by telegraph. Because the telegraph lines were frequently cut by opposing troops, it was quite difficult to get stories to the papers in a timely fashion.

The American Civil War 365 Days

American Civil War 365 Days

My Review of the Book

Over 150 years ago the United States erupted in a civil war. There is much to learn about that time and this is just the book for anyone fascinated by Civil War history and all the details that go with that time period. If you are searching for a Civil War ancestor, you need to learn about all aspects of the war so you can put their life in perspective of the events of that time.
American Civil War 365 Days
This weighty book would make a good doorstop, that is if you could tear yourself away from it long enough to use it in that way. What I’m saying is, there is a lot of history packed into this book. Great for dipping into and browsing, but it has an index for returning to information that you found earlier.

The American Civil War 365 Days is a book that Civil War buffs and those with a casual interest will enjoy soaking up historical facts. It was great for that, but when I checked the index for a specific topic, it sometimes wasn’t there. You can only cram so much into one book, even one as large as this one is. It would not be my #1 source for reference on the Civil War.

Battle of Chancellorsville Mouse Pad

 
Battle of Chancellorsville Mouse Pad by libertybell

Reviews by Others

What other reviewers have to say about the book:

    • “I added this to my classroom civil war collection as soon as I saw finished reading it. Recommended. ” (review by Evan McMillan)

    • “Excellent information and photos.” (review by G.J. Durst)

    • “The division of the book into topics helped me analyze different general aspects of conflict and concern at the time, and the phenomenal selection of photos, maps, drawings, cartoons humanized the time period and the war itself and made it very real. I borrowed the book from the library, couldn’t put it down, rushed right out and bought it.” (review by nsx12 on Amazon)

Take a look at a video of the author talking about the book. You can buy the book, The American Civil War 365 Days, new or used in hardback on Amazon. Just click on the book below to see more reviews or to buy a copy.


Would You Go to War for $1000?

Sampling of Civil War recruitment flyers.

It’s interesting to see the old recruitment posters for the American Civil War. I’ve seen them in museums at Gettysburg and Richmond.

$1000 bounty civil war recruitment

Photo of a Civil War recruitment poster (taken at a museum).

Usually, the amount of the bounty (bonus) in the 1860s is a few hundred dollars. Sometimes there are multiple bounties to entice recruits. In some cases, the money was paid up front or some held back to be paid at the end of the enlistment.

Having the money at the sign-up time would be good. Then you could leave some for the wife and children to live on while you are away fighting in battles.

recruitment posters

Photo of a Civil War recruitment poster (taken at a museum).

With the monthly pay for a soldier being just $16, you get an idea of the value of money at that time. $1000 is a considerable sum.

I met one genealogist who found that his ancestor changed his name and fought in a different regiment. It made me wonder if he did that to collect more than one bounty. That would certainly complicate your search for that ancestor.

Would $1000 convince you to join the army and march away to war? Search online for recruitment posters for the state and county where your ancestor lived.

Finding Your Ancestor Inside a Book

What are the chances that your Civil War ancestor might be mentioned in a book about the Civil War? Probably slim, unless he was a general or other high-ranking officer. It is always possible, since more primary source material like diaries and letters are getting published plus an abundance of new research. Your ancestor may turn up in print some day.

That’s why when I see a book on Amazon about the war or a history topic, I look for the names of my ancestors.  Not all books have the LOOK-INSIDE-THE-BOOK feature, but it only takes a minute to search when you find one that does have it.

The preview feature usually shows the table of contents and a few pages from the first chapter. See the screenshot below to see how the search function can turn up valuable information. In some cases, it shows the index. You’ll want to scan that for events and names that are important to you.

Put the Amazon Search Inside a Book to work for you.

Put the Amazon Search Inside a Book to work for you.

For this book, I put in the name Walsh and the search brought up 5 page links. By clicking on each link, you can see the whole page with that name highlighted on it.

It’s a little bit like searching for a needle in a haystack, since there are 284,298 books under the topic “Civil War.” More are being added all the time. I look for books relating to areas of the war where I know my ancestor might be (Andersonville, Vicksburg, Brice’s Crossroads). I also use this search for books on Indiana and Kansas history where I might find Abraham Tower before or after the war.

Did You Check the 1890 Veterans’ Schedules?

Although the 1890 census was almost totally destroyed, there was a Veteran’s Schedule done at the same time. It’s possible your Civil War ancestor will show up on this. It documented around 75,000 Civil War Union veterans or their widows.

According to the census office, this is the information collected, “name, rank, company, regiment or vessel, date of enlistment, date of discharge, and length of service. It also included the post office address, any disability incurred in the service, and general remarks.” Some of the census takers ended up recording Confederate veterans and veterans of other wars. Read more about the Veterans Census on the National Archives site.

To get something looked up in this Veteran’s Schedule, there’s a special angel out there willing to search for free. Just one search request per person, per day. Allow a week for the look up. The site is called Ancestral Findings and here is the form to submit your request.

I’ve just submitted mine for Abraham Bates Tower. Can’t wait to see if anything turns up for the searcher. Wish me luck.

 

UPDATE March 6, 2015: Had a reply on my inquiry on the 1890 Veterans Schedule and no luck. Sigh.

Search eBay for GAR Memorabilia

You can periodically search eBay for letters, souvenir programs and other Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) items. Possibly one will mention your ancestor. In a recent search, I used the terms “Indiana GAR” and another search with “Kansas GAR” which are 2 places my ancestor lived after the war.

Although I did not find him this time, here are examples of what you might find. One photo showed officers of the GAR, but the print on the picture was too small to read. In the eBay description, it told who was in the picture.

An Original And Historic Cabinet Photo, Showing Eleven Photos On One Card – Commander Is TH Soward – Staff is WW Martin, JW Feighn, B Kelly, AB Armeat, OH Couttes, HZ Gill, AH Limrick, RG Ward, and I cant make out the names of the lower left and lower right photos names. Soward And Martin Are Wearing GAR Medals. From the little research I did it appears TH Soward was Commander of 22nd Regiment, Kansas Milita Infantry And Was Department Commander Of The Grand Army Of The Republic

If one of those names were what I sought, I’d be ecstatic. I’m not sure I’d spring the $125 to get it, but I’d sure be tempted.

Here are other examples of what you mght find:

gar ebay application ks

This application is from Ephraim Moore who was a Sergeant in Company F, 10th Kansas Militia. It was filed in 1896.

 

Wouldn't you love to find one like this for your ancestor!

Wouldn’t you love to find one like this for your ancestor!

Here’s the kind of information that this included: age, where born, where he lived at the time of the application, his occupation and details of his service.

Take a look at this interesting example:

This eBay seller has a program from a GAR gathering. It contains sketches and a signature that's sure to interest a descendant of

This eBay seller has a program from a GAR gathering. It contains sketches and a signature that’s sure to interest a descendant of Paul E. Slocum.

Take a look on eBay. Who knows what you might find!

Requesting Civil War Medical Cards from the National Archives

I just submitted my request for medical information about my ancestor. Although I don’t know if he was ever wounded, he most likely had medical treatment when he was released from Andersonville Prison. I’m really curious about any information that might be included with this.

Here’s the query I sent to the National Archives:

“I would like a copy of my ancestor’s Civil War Medical Cards.
His name was Abraham Bates Tower. He started as a private and later was a Corporal. He was in company G, 93rd Indiana Volunteer Infantry. He was a prisoner of war at Andersonville Prison in Georgia.

I am working on a book about his life.

My mind is teeming with the possibilities that this might reveal. Do you know if your ancestor was wounded or had medical treatment during their service?

I found out about medical cards from a blog post on the Genealogy Circle. There are some intriguing posts there called Civil War Saturday, so I’ll be busy reading all of those. Here’s the one about the Medical Cards.

The blogger, Cindy Freed, also has a book that looks helpful. The title is Ancestors in a Nation Divided: An In-Depth Guide to Researching Your Civil War Ancestors and it is available in Kindle or paperback.

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UPDATE: I received an email from my inquiry.

“Dear Ms. Allain:

This is in response to your inquiry requesting to obtain a copy of the Civil War Carded Medical Cards pertaining to Private/Corporal Abraham Bates Tower, Company G, 93rd IN Infantry.
We searched Record Group 94: Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, Entry 534: Carded Medical Records, Volunteers, Mexican & Civil Wars (1846-65).
We were unable to identify any Carded Medical Records pertaining to Private/Corporal Abraham Bates Tower, Company G, 93rd IN Infantry.
Sincerely,
P. H.
Archives I Reference Section
Archival Operations-Washington, DC “