The Civil War: The Third Year Told by Those Who Lived It

The Civil War: The Third Year Told by Those Who Lived It

(Library of America #234)

Editor: Brooks D. Simpson

Additional Formats
  • Hardcover
  • ISBN 9781598531978
  • 936 Pages
  • Library of America
  • Adult


This is the third volume of the ground-breaking eyewitness narrative that has been called a "masterpiece."

Spanning the crucial months from January 1863 to March 1864, this third volume of The Library of America’s highly acclaimed four volume series presents an incomparable portrait of a nation at war with itself while illuminating the military and political events that brought the Union closer to victory and slavery closer to destruction. It brings together more than 140 contemporary letters, diary entries, speeches, articles, messages, and poems by more than eighty participants and observers, among them Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman, Robert E. Lee, Frederick Douglass, Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, Mary Chesnut, Clement Vallandigham, Henry Adams, Charlotte Forten, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, and George Templeton Strong, as well as Union officers Robert Gould Shaw, Charles B. Haydon, and Henry Livermore Abbott; Confederate diarists Catherine Edmondston, Kate Stone, and Judith McGuire; and Alabama soldier Samuel Pickens, Iowa housewife Catharine Peirce, Kentucky preacher George Richard Browder, and Kansas clergyman Richard Cordley. The selections include vivid and haunting eyewitness narratives of some of the war’s most famous battles—Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Vicksburg, Fort Wagner, Chickamauga, Chattanooga—as well as firsthand accounts of the merciless guerrilla war in Missouri and Kansas; the Richmond bread riot and the New York draft riots; the controversies surrounding the use of black soldiers and the Lincoln administration’s curtailment of civil liberties; and the struggles of civilians both black and white to survive increasingly harsh wartime conditions.

Each volume features a detailed chronology of events, biographical notes about the writers, textual and explanatory notes, and original hand-drawn endpaper maps by expert Civil War cartographer Earl McElfresh.

The Civil War: The Final Year Told by Those Who Lived It will be published in 2014.


“Extraordinary, imaginatively compiled, and beautifully edited… If there is a richer evocation of those terrible times, I have not seen it.”
GEOFFREY C. WARD, co author of The Civil War and author of A First-Class Temperament

“A profound portrait of a nation in crisis… It will forever deepen the way you see this central chapter in our history. And while this is only the inaugural installment in the series, it does not seem the least bit rash to call this collage of testimony a masterpiece.”

“[An] engaging historical narrative… Goes a long way toward answering questions that posterity has debated about the Civil War during the past 150 years.”
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