Civil War Stories


Civil War Stories: a couple separated by war in 1863

The Thomas Nast illustration in Harper’s Weekly creates a detailed Civil War story about a couple separated at Christmas time 1863: capturing love, war-caused hardship, loneliness, prayer, longing, hope, Christ, Christmas and Santa Claus. There are countless poignant personal stories from the war.

The American Civil War is made of countless little stories that trace the nation’s great rending and permanent bonding backward and forward. Backward beyond the first slaves/indentured servants arriving in Virginia in 1619 and forward to today’s latest political blog or reenactment. Each book, newspaper article, person, event and place tell only a fraction of this total history. But, like a Thomas Nast cartoon, each has the potential to touch us with hope, success, tragedy or despair as we seek context and meaning in the war, slavery and lost lives. Here are a few blogs I’ve done to tell portions of the story. I’ve grouped them under general category buttons below.

If they’re useful or interesting to you, I’m glad. The stories, thoughts, experiences and ideas behind them have already changed me.


Civil War Books: Fiction and Nonfiction

Top 25 Civil War BooksA few of my favorite books on the American Civil War. Everything from Catton’s centennial history and Foote’s massive narrative history to Leech’s elegant, Pulitzer-winning history of the nation’s capital; from Stowe’s war-starting Uncle Tom to the elder Shaara’s Pulitzer-winning angels.


Americans: Citizens, the Enslaved and the Free

General Butler proclaims escaping slaves as contraband.Americans, free or enslaved, citizen or emigrant, were touched individually and collectively by the American Civil War: Its causes, fighting, “collateral damage,” unintended consequences and results. Here are a few blogs on some of that impact.



American Holidays and the Civil War

Thomas Nast First Santa Claus Cartoon 1863The Civil War was the fountain of several American holidays and changed others. Thanksgiving. Christmas. Dedication Day. Juneteeth. Holidays are different because of the war.




Living the Civil War

Civil War Re-enactment in Parker, Colorado 2012Living and witnessing Civil War reenactments reminds us, young and old, North and South, of our unique heritage forged in the defining fire of the sacrifice of over 800,000 American lives.




The Soldier's Civil War

The Civil War affected Americans in all facets of their lives, but it was the soldier who bore the burdens of the front line, and how they responded to those burdens determined the outcome of battle and lives.