Newspaper Research, 1860-1865

            Many people like newspapers, but few preserve them; yet the most
            interesting reading imaginable is a file of newspapers.  It brings up the past
            age with all its bustle and every day affairs, and marks its genius and its spirit
            more than the most labored description of the historian.  Who can take up a
            paper half century old without the thought that almost every name there
            printed is now upon a tombstone or at the head of an epitaph?  The news-
            papers of the present day will be especially interesting years hence, as con-
            taining the current record of events fraught with tremendous import to the
            cause of freedom in all the civilized world.  We therefore would urge upon
            all the propriety of preserving their papers.  They will be a source of pleasure
            and interest to them thereafter.
                                                        --Savannah Republican, Sept. 3, 1862, p. 2, c. 2.

   Newspapers remain one of the most underutilized resources available to the historian, and with good cause.  Relatively few full runs of Southern newspapers survived the Civil War and the years of storms, fires, and business failures that preceded the advent of microfilm.  Once the papers were finally collected and filmed, students and researchers might need to spend hours in darkened rooms, straining their eyesight, trying to decipher almost illegible print, all in pursuit of the elusive perfect quotation or the previously unknown letter from the front.

    The following files of transcribed articles from Civil War era newspapers are predominantly from the South, and focus on the homefront, including women, Confederate industry, and material culture.  The scattered military articles usually relate either to camp life or to Texas units or events.  These articles do NOT include foreign affairs, politics, monetary policy, or general battle accounts.  All were gathered in the course of researching various topics of personal interest and do not reflect any systematized indexing.  If these excerpts are to be used for published research, authors are urged to double check with either the microfilm or the originals to verify the transcription, especially when the quotations include numbers or proper names.  The combination of the deteriorating ink and paper of Confederate newspapers and poor microfilming has made some issues difficult to read. 

    As usual, researchers are also encouraged to approach the "truth" in historic newspapers cautiously.  Even more so than now, nineteenth century newspapers often expressed extremely partisan positions.  Editors gathered reports and rumors from correspondents, travelers, and other newspapers, usually with little or no verification.  At the same time, these papers do reflect what people of the period were reading and perhaps believing.  As such, they remain a valuable source, used wisely.

    Some of the newspaper articles have been gathered by topic; others remain in chronological order by title.  A website search engine has been provided for the files arranged by title.

Topical Files

Files by Newspaper Titles  

How to Cite Articles from this Database using Chicago Manual of Style:

(for general article, no author given, no title given)  Based on Rule 17.198
Dallas Herald
, July 26, 1861. Newspaper Research, 1861-1865 . (accessed December 20, 2004).

(for article with title, no author given) Based on both 17.198 and 17.192
Dallas Herald
, "How to Color Thread," January 7, 1863. Newspaper Research, 1861-1865. (accessed December 20, 2004).

(article with an author and a title) Based on 17.198
Good, John J. "General Order No. 2." Dallas Herald, August 2, 1862. Newspaper Research, 1861-1865. (accessed December 20, 2004).

(article from one newspaper transcribed into another newspaper) Based on the above, plus previous experience
San Antonio Herald
, "California Immigrants," undated, reprinted in Dallas Herald July 24, 1861. Newspaper Research, 1861-1865. (accessed December 20, 2004).

Compiled by Vicki Betts