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The Confederate States of America: A Resource Guide

Compiled by Mark F. Hall, Digital Reference Specialist

The Great Seal of the Confederate States of America [The Great Seal of the Confederate States of America]
1 photomechanical print.
c1911.
Prints & Photographs Division.
Reproduction Number:
LC-USZ62-46771

Although the entirety of its brief existence was consumed with fighting its ultimately unsuccessful war for independence, for four years the Confederate States of America had a federal government modeled on that of the union from which its member states had seceded. Much of the surviving documentation of the Confederate government can be found in the collections of the Library of Congress. The digital collections of the Library of Congress contain a wide variety of material associated with the Confederate government, including manuscripts, maps, broadsides, photographs, prints, and sheet music. This guide compiles links to digital materials related to the Confederate States of America that are available throughout the Library of Congress Web site. In addition, it provides links to external Web sites focusing on the Confederate government and a bibliography containing selections for both general and younger readers.

Library of Congress Web Site | External Web Sites | Selected Bibliography

American Memory Historical Collections

An American Time Capsule: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera

The Printed Ephemera collection at the Library of Congress is a rich repository of Americana. In total, the collection comprises 28,000 primary-source items dating from the seventeenth century to the present and encompasses key events and eras in American history.

Examples of printed ephemera from the Confederate era include:

  • An act recognizing the existence of war between the United States and the Confederate States.
  • A list of the membership in the Confederate Congress.
  • A poem on The Lost Cause illustrated with pictures of Confederate money notes.

A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation

This collection contains the records of Congress from 1774 to 1875, including journals, debates, bills, and laws. In addition to United States Congress materials such as the Congressional Globe, U.S. Statutes at Large, House Journal, and Senate Journal, this collection also includes the Journal of the Congress of the Confederate States of America, 1861-1865.

First-Person Narratives of the American South, 1860-1920

This collection contains the full texts of over a hundred books describing the American South during this period. Many of these are illustrated with pictures and maps. Includes more than 50 books related to the Confederate States of America.

Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920

This collection presents 3,042 pieces of sheet music drawn from the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library at Duke University, including music about the Confederate States of America.

Map Collections

The focus of this collection is Americana and cartographic treasures of the Library of Congress. These images were created from maps and atlases selected from the collections of the Geography and Map Division. This collection contains more than one hundred maps related to the Confederate States of America.

The Nineteenth Century in Print: Books

This collection comprises books published in the United States during the nineteenth century, primarily during the second half of the century. The collection is particularly strong in poetry and in the subject areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology.

Search this collection to find several books about the Confederate States of America from a northern perspective.

The Nineteenth Century in Print: Periodicals

This collection comprises periodicals published in the United States during the nineteenth century, primarily during the second half of the century. The periodicals selected illuminate the subject areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology.

Search this collection to find articles about the Confederate government and other Civil War topics.

America's Library

Jump Back in Time: Florida Seceded, January 10, 1861.

Jump Back in Time: Jefferson Davis Elected President of the Confederate States of America, November 6, 1861.

Jump Back in Time: Lee Surrendered, April 9, 1865.

Exhibitions

American Treasures of the Library of Congress

This exhibition provides unique insight into various aspects of American history and culture. Objects displayed are organized according to the three categories that Thomas Jefferson used for his library: memory, reason, and imagination. Many of these relate to the Civil War. Among those that represent the Confederacy are the Diary of a Confederate Woman and the Ruins in Richmond.

John Bull and Uncle Sam: Four Centuries of British-American Relations

Brings together for the first time treasures from the two greatest libraries in the English-speaking world—the British Library and the Library of Congress—in order to illuminate the relationship between the two countries. Includes a political cartoon of Britain's Queen Victoria rebuffing a Confederate request for diplomatic recognition.

Local History and Genealogy Reading Room

U.S. Civil War Regimental Histories in the Library of Congress

Regimental histories are valuable research sources that offer a unique perspective for the study of the Civil War. They provide details on the organization and achievements of a particular unit, often focusing on wartime activities. This finding aid focuses on Civil War regimental histories located in the Library's general collections and is arranged by Union and Confederate state units.

Manuscript Division

Manuscript Division Finding Aids Online

View the finding aid for the Records of the Confederate States of America in the Library of Congress Manuscript Division. The records of the Confederate States of America span the years 1854-1889, with the bulk of the material concentrated in the period 1861-1865. The collection relates to the formation of the government of the Confederacy and the conduct of its internal, external, and military affairs.

With few exceptions, the collection consists of official or semiofficial records generated by departments of the Confederate government and their agents. The departments of state, justice, treasury, navy, war, and the post office are represented, along with material relating to the president, the congress, and the constitution.

This collection has not been entirely digitized, but digitized materials can be found from links within the finding aid, or can be browsed.

Prints and Photographs Division

Pictorial Americana: Selected Images from the Collections of the Library of Congress

Pictorial Americana, a 1955 Library of Congress publication, contains a chapter listing selected images related to the Confederate States of America.

Search the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC) for additional images concerning the Confederate States of America.

Rare Book and Special Collections Division

Confederate States of America Collection

Publications issued in the South during the Civil War. The Library's Civil War collections include one of the largest collections of Confederate imprints in existence. The division has approximately 1,500 volumes, pamphlets, and broadsides that chronicle the actions of the Confederate States government, southern life, and book production during the war.

Teacher Resources

Features and Activities

American Memory Timeline

Use this interactive timeline-based activity to introduce topics of American history through primary sources. One section focuses on The South During the Civil War.

Today in History

January 10, 1861

Delegates to the Florida Convention in Tallahassee voted to secede from the Union.

November 6, 1861

Voters loyal to the Confederate States of America went to the polls to elect their leaders.

External Web Sites

American Civil War MuseumExternal Link

Comprising the Museum of the Confederacy and Confederate White House in Richmond, Virginia, The Civil War Museum at the historic Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond, and an additional museum in Appomattox, Virginia, the Museum's rich collection of civilian and military Civil War artifacts relating to the Confederate States of America, as well as the post-war “Lost Cause” era, is a valuable resource for the study of the role of the Confederacy in the War and in American society today.

Beauvoir: Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential LibraryExternal Link

Located in Biloxi, Mississippi. This historic site was almost completely destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Efforts are underway to rebuild and restore.

Official Records of the Union and Confederate ArmiesExternal Link

Available online through the Making of America project at Cornell University, contains the formal reports, both Union and Confederate, from the first seizures of United States property in the Southern States, through all military operations in the field, with the correspondence, orders, and returns relating specially thereto.

The Southern Homefront 1861-1865: Topical Access to Confederate Official DocumentsExternal Link

Available online through the Documenting the American South project at the University of North Carolina. The documents in this section range from the provisional and permanent constitutions of the Confederate States of America through legislation, reports, and communications touching upon all aspects of the national agenda for establishing and defending Confederate independence.

Selected Bibliography

Davis, Jefferson, new foreword by James M. McPherson. The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government. New York, N.Y.: Da Capo Press, c1990.
LC call number: E487 .D263 1990 [Catalog Record]

Davis, William C. Look Away! A History of the Confederate States of America. New York: Free Press. 2002.
LC call number E487 .D278 2002 [Catalog Record]

Eaton, Clement. A History of the Southern Confederacy. New York: Macmillan, 1954.
LC call number: E487 .E15 [Catalog Record]

Evans, Clement A. Confederate Military History: A Library of Confederate States History, Written by Distinguished Men of the South, and edited by Gen. Clement A. Evans of Georgia. Atlanta, Ga.: Confederate Pub. Co., 1899.
LC call number: E484 .E9 [Catalog Record]

Henry, Robert Selph, with a foreword by Douglas Southall Freeman. The Story of the Confederacy. Rev. ed. Gloucester, Mass.: P. Smith, 1970 [c1936]
LC call number: E487 .H544 1970 [Catalog Record]

Thomas, Emory M. Confederate Nation: 1861-1865. New York: Harper & Row, 1979.
LC call number: E487 .T483 1979 [Catalog Record]

Wakelyn, Jon L. Biographical Dictionary of the Confederacy. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1977.
LC call number: E467 .W2 [Catalog Record]

Younger Readers

Gaines, Ann Graham. The Confederacy and the Civil War in American History. Berkeley Heights, NJ : Enslow Publishers, c2000.
LC call number: E487 .G25 2000. [Catalog Record]

 

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  June 6, 2016
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