Civil War era newspapers are excellent sources for research on all aspects of the war. Newspapers played a prominent role during the war, and helped to shape public opinion, for and against the war. Newspapers frequently printed letters from local soldiers to provide in-depth, first-hand accounts from the men on the front line. Since regiments were recruited by geographical regions, most of the men serving in a unit were neighbors, and their families often shared letters with each other. Some soldiers specifically arranged to send reports of company news to their hometown newspapers. Local newspapers should be checked for information on a soldier and/or his unit. Larger newspapers such as the New York Times or Chicago Tribune may be consulted for articles on armies, leaders, battles and campaigns.
Historic Newspapers Online
Of particular interest may be the National Tribune, the premier Union veterans' newspaper of the post-Civil War era. In October 1877, the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) initiated a new publication, the National Tribune, a newspaper for Civil War Union veterans; later, the banner Stars and Stripes was added. The Tribune published letters from veterans with wonderful accounts of battles and soldier life. An extremely helpful index to the Civil War material is available at many reference and university libraries:
Sauers, Richard. To Care For Him Who Has Borne the Battle: Research Guide to Civil War Material in the National Tribune. Jackson, KY: History Shop Press, 1995.
Many newspapers have comprehensive published indexes so you can search by personal name, specific event, and/or regiment. Check for historic newspaper collections and indexes at the appropriate state archives or Library of Congress.
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress maintains one of the largest newspaper collections in the world with 9,000 titles covering the past three centuries. Civil War era newspapers include the Baltimore Sun, Chicago Tribune, New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Washington Star. Many of the collections can be obtained through interlibrary loan. Contact your local library for more information on interlibrary loan.
For more information on the newspaper holdings of the Library of Congress, Click Here!
To access the Library of Congress online catalog, Click Here!
Visitors to Library of Congress will request newspapers in the Newspaper & Current Periodical Reading Room, Madison Building. The reading room has a large collection of newspaper indexes in book form, microfiche, microfilm, and CD-ROM. Many of the printed indexes are shelved in the reference collection. Ask a reference librarian for help.
Ancestry.com - Historic Newspapers Online
The Ancestry.com collection contains more than 16 million pages from over 1000 different newspapers across the US, U.K. and Canada dating back to the 1700's. The full-text index and Advanced Image Viewer deliver highlighted search hits on every page. Searchable by name, state or newspaper title. The subscription also includes access to the new Obituary Collection that contains more than 9 million obituaries.
Accessible Archives is a full-text subscription database. At this writing, the annual personal subscription price is $59.95. Their online Civil War era collection includes:
The Liberator 1831-1865
Godey`s Lady`s Book 1830-1885
The Civil War: A Newspaper Perspective, Nov. 1860 - April 1865
The Charleston Mercury
The New York Herald
African American Newspapers (Various)
American County Histories to 1900
The Pennsylvania Genealogical Catalogue: Chester County 1809-1870
The Pennsylvania Newspaper Record: Delaware County 1819-1870
The South Carolina Gazette 1732-1775
Civil War News: Headlines from History
This is a free database with access to select articles.
Civil War Newspapers
Gleanings from several issues of the Civil War Era newspapers of Pennsylvania and Boston.
Civil War Newspapers – University of Texas at Tyler
Select articles from more than 50 Civil War era newspapers.
These links point to the Historical Newspapers search form on GenealogyBank.com (Subscription)
Discover family history in millions of historical newspaper articles from 1690-1980, including obituaries, birth records, marriage notices, and more facts about your ancestors:
Family History Newspapers
Find Family History - Birth Records
Find Family History - Marriage Announcements
Find Ancestors In Historical Events
Find Family History Facts Find American Ancestors
Free online access to Harpers Weekly Civil War Newspapers [1861-1863]. Harper's Weekly was the most popular newspaper during the Civil War. Presently 1861 and 1862 are completed, and 1863 is underway.
Historical New York Times
Another free database with access to the New York Times, one of the most important papers of the time. Newspapers are searchable by date.
PA Civil War Era Newspaper Article Transcriptions
Select articles from several Pennsylvania newspapers
Penn State University - Pennsylvania Civil War Newspapers
Free online access to ten Pennsylvania Newspapers
Center for Archival Collections
Bowling Green State University
Northwest Ohio Civil War Newspaper Correspondence Index.
These collections, prepared by Dan Masters, record soldiers' correspondence printed in area newspapers during the Civil War. This index is searchable by newspaper, correspondent and date. Does not include transcriptions.
Georgia Newspaper Project
University Georgia Libraries
The University of Georgia Libraries has been microfilming Georgia newspapers since the early 1950s. Click on the link for information.
Historic Newspapers for Sale
Civil War Era Newspapers
1860 to 1865 Collector Originals for sale
Civil War Newspaper Catalog
Newspapers, Magazines and Ephemera for sale