Source Analysis

Civil War Letters


Scholar Analysis

Chandra ManningListen to Professor Chandra Manning discuss letters written by Civil War soldiers. An Assistant Professor in the History Department at Georgetown University, Chandra Manning’s work focuses on 19th century United States History, with particular emphasis on sectionalism, the Civil War, and Reconstruction. She is the author of What This Cruel War Was Over: Soldiers, Slavery, and the Civil War.

Teacher Analysis

Jason FitzgeraldListen to eighth grade teacher Jason Fitzgerald discuss his approach to teaching Civil War letters in his classroom.

Classroom Practice

Jason FitzgeraldWatch eighth grade teacher Jason Fitzgerald teach the Civil War letters to his classroom.

Lesson Plan

This lesson asks the essential question: “Was the Civil War about slavery prior to the Emancipation Proclamation?”

Read the Letters

Download the original copies and transcripts of the letters.


Access transcripts of the scholar analysis and teacher analysis videos.


Grateful acknowledgment is made to the following institutions and individuals for the use of images from their collections:

  • Illinois State Historical Library
  • Library of Congress
  • National Archives and Records Administration
  • New York State Library
  • Virginia Historical Society