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Overview

Letters, diaries, memoirs, and other personal papers from the Civil War holdings of the Library of Congress. Edited by John R. Sellers.

A People at War reproduces on microfilm the personal papers of more than 350 people from both North and South -- civilians, professionals, camp followers and ordinary soldiers, participants and observers, male and female, black and white. A written record of the silent majority of the Civil War, the collection incorporates a remarkable range of voices and viewpoints from a Union private describing camp life during the Shenandoah campaign or a lieutenant recounting troop reaction to the Appomattox surrender to a prisoner of war telling of suffering at Andersonville and an ex-slavewoman writing about conditions in the North.

These papers are the raw materials of history opening up to researchers such elusive issues as the attitudes and actions of non-combatants in the war, the condition and contribution of blacks, the role of women both in and behind the lines of battle, the treatment of convalescents and prisoners of war, weapons development and tactical innovations, and the place of religion in the lives of ordinary soldiers.

A highly significant research resource, organized to be easily accessible, A People at War revolutionizes our understanding of the event that shook the foundations of the United States.

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A People at War

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