Civil War Reference Documents
The U.S. Constitution
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
The Bill of Rights
Congress of the United States begun and held at the City of New-York, on Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.
THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.
The Gettysburg Address
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Timeline of Events Leading to the Civil War
English settlers in Virginia purchase 20 Africans from a Dutch ship. The Africans were sold as indentured servants, not slaves. The distinction being an indentured servant may ultimately become free for working for some number of years. It was not long before all Africans arriving were treated as slaves, bought and sold into a lifetime of slavery for them and their descendants.
Sullivan Ballou's Letter to his Wife
My very dear Sarah:
The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days - perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write you again, I feel impelled to write lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more.
Ordinances of Secession of the 13 Confederate States of America
AN ORDINANCE to dissolve the union between the State of South Carolina and other States united with her under the compact entitled "The Constitution of the United States of America."
Fugitive Slave Act
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the persons who have been, or may hereafter be, appointed commissioners, in virtue of any act of Congress, by the Circuit Courts of the United States, and Who, in consequence of such appointment, are authorized to exercise the powers that any justice of the peace, or other magistrate of any of the United States, may exercise in respect to offenders for any crime or offense against the United States, by arresting, imprisoning, or bailing the same under and by the virtue of the thirty-third section of the act of the twenty-fourth of September seventeen hundred and eighty-nine, entitled "An Act to establish the judicial courts of the United States" shall be, and are hereby, authorized and required to exercise and discharge all the powers and duties conferred by this act.
Dred Scott Decision
Presented by: Chief Justice Taney
This case has been twice argued. After the argument at the last term, differences of opinion were found to exist among the members of the court; and as the questions in controversy are of the highest importance, and the court was at that time much pressed by the ordinary business of the term, it was deemed advisable to continue the case, and direct a re-argument on some of the points, in order that we might have an opportunity of giving to the whole subject a more deliberate consideration. It has accordingly been again argued by counsel, and considered by the court; and I now proceed to deliver its opinion.
January 1, 1863
By the President of the United States of America: A Proclamation.
Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:
Declaration of Independence
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
Read Selected Battle Reports from the Official Records
Battle reports from Union and Confederate officers from 1st Bull Run / 1st Manassas, Antietam / Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg and Shiloh / Pittsburg Landing.
Information from A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion - Frederick H. Dyer, 1908 for Union States and other entities. Includes: Killed and Mortally Wounded, Died of Disease, Died as Prisoner, Died from Accidents, Died from all Causes except Battle, Total Deaths, Furnished White Troops, Furnished Sailors and Marines, Furnished Colored Troops, Furnished Indian Nations and Aggregate Furnished.
Civil War Battle Map - Battle of Antietam / Sharpsburg
High resolution map for the Battle of Antietam / Sharpsburg.
Civil War Battle Map - Battle of Shiloh / Pittsburg Landing
High resolution map for the Shiloh / Pittsburg Landing.