Civil War, 1861-1865

The Game of Secession, or Sketches from the Rebellion a Civil War board game.
"The Game of Secession, or Sketches of the Rebellion," a board game.

The New York State Library holds an extensive collection of material on the American Civil War in print, microform, and online formats. Civil War materials available at the State Library include regimental and military histories, personal narratives, military records, general references, bibliographies, annual reports of the New York State Adjutant-General (which include registers of New York regiments), rosters of Confederate and Union soldiers, the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, documents and reports of federal agencies, lists of pensioners and numerous primary documents, such as letters, diaries, citations, personal and family papers, broadsides, prints, music, maps and atlases. 

Listed below are publications that have been digitized from items/volumes in the New York State Library's collection.  As the State Library digitizes other Civil War materials, links to the digital copy will be added to this list. The titles listed below are also available in print copy at the NYSL for use onsite. Some of the titles are also available in microform copy and are available for loan. Additional materials relating to the Civil War can be found by searching the NYSL online catalog and the Finding Aids to Special Collections.

For more information, contact the Reference Desk at 518-474-5355 or via e-mail, or see the Digital Collections FAQ.

Ages of U. S. Volunteer Soldiery: This report, prepared by the Statistical Bureau of the U.S. Sanitary Commission, shows the number of men at each year of age in the volunteer organizations at the time of their muster into service of the United States during the Civil War.  The information is arranged in tables for states, territories or geographic groups.  Officers are tabulated as a distinct class and the branches of the military – infantry, cavalry and artillery – have been treated separately.

Army Relief Bazaar, Albany, in Aid of the United States Sanitary Commission: This is a certificate that was given to people who helped put on the Army Relief Bazaar held in Albany during February – March 1864. The line for the certificate holder's name is blank.  There are six pictures on the certificate: picture of George Washington; a cityscape of Albany, NY from across the Hudson River; picture of an unidentified military officer; an exterior of the building in which the bazaar was held; a picture of an American eagle hovering over the Constitution; and a picture of the interior of the building in which the bazaar was held.

Army Relief Bazaar: Grand Promenade Concert: A broadside publicizing a concert that was held as part of the Army Relief Bazaar in Albany in 1864.  The concert band was under the direction of Professor Charles Doring. The concert program is included on the broadside.

Army Relief Bazaar Regulations: A broadside listing the regulations of the Army Relief Bazaar that was held in Albany during February and March 1864 to aid the U.S. Sanitary Commission.

Cayuga in the Field: A Record of the 19th N.Y. Volunteers, All the Batteries of the 3d New York Artillery, and 75th New York Volunteers: This publication, by Henry Hall and James Hall, contains information on the organization, camp life, marches, battles and losses of the 19th New York Volunteers, the 3rd New York Artillery and the 75th New York Volunteers.

Circular: This circular was issued on May 29, 1861, by George P. Sharpe, chairman of the Kingston Sub-Committee of the Ulster Military Relief.  In the circular, Sharpe talks about the need for flannel drawers, shoes and India Rubber blankets for the soldiers in the 20th regiment.  He provides information on the cost of these items and explains where contributions can be made.

Civil War Map of Shiloh, Tennessee, 1862: An 1862 tactical map used by Brigadier General Daniel Ruggles (Confederate Army) at the battle of Shiloh, Tennessee.

Corporal Granville Abbott's Hammock Knapsack: A broadside promoting Corporal Granville Abbott's invention, a hammock-knapsack.  Abbott received a US patent for his invention – US Patent No. 41,418, dated February 2, 1864.  He was enlisted in the Thirty-First Regiment Indiana Volunteer Infantry at the time.

Final Report on the Battlefield of Gettysburg:  This three-volume set contains New York at Gettysburg by William F. Fox and includes regimental histories of the numerous New York State regiments that fought at Gettysburg.  The report also includes the dedication of the monuments erected in honor of the New York regiments at Gettysburg and the location, dimension, construction and cost of each of the New York monuments at Gettysburg.

The Game of Secession, or Sketches of the Rebellion: This full-color game board from 1862 includes images of Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis and three military figures as well as images of battle sites and editorial cartoons related to the Civil War.

Army and Navy Swords:  This broadside is a notice of the closing date and time for subscriptions at the Metropolitan fair, New York, NY.

Mr. Jay's Address on Presenting the Colours Prepared By the Ladies of New York: The "Colours" were presented to the Second Coloured Regiment raised by the Union League Club on the regiment's departure for war.  This broadside includes the text of Col. William Silliman's reply.

New York in the War of the Rebellion, 1861 to 1865:  This six-volume set compiled by Frederick Phisterer provides detailed information on various aspects of New York State's role in the Civil War and is an important resource for conducting research into New York State regiments during the Civil War.  Each regimental history in this set includes information on when and where a regiment was recruited, the names of its officers, the battles in which the regiment participated, and the casualties suffered. More information about Phisterer's New York in the War of the Rebellion...

Onondaga's Part in the Civil War:  This volume, written by Mrs. Sarah Sumner Teall, was published as the Annual Volume of the Onondaga Historical Association for 1915.

Registers of New York Regiments in the War of the Rebellion: These registers are from the Annual Report of the Adjutant General of the State of New York.  The Annual Reports for 1893-1905 have supplementary volumes that contain the registers of New York regiments in the Civil War. The registers list the officers and enlisted men in each New York State volunteer regiment and battery during the Civil War and include a sketch of their service with the unit.

The United States Conscription Law or National Militia Act:  This volume was published by the James W. Fortune and provides text of the U.S. conscription law as approved March 20, 1863.

Who is Responsible for the War?; Who Accountable for its Horrors and Desolations?: This broadside has extracts from a speech given by Alexander H. Stephens (Vice-President of the Confederate States), delivered in the Secession Convention of Georgia on the 31st day of January 1861.

Wesley H. Shaw Letters, 1861-1865: This is a group of letters that Wesley H. Shaw sent to his family detailing his experiences of military services during the Civil War. He provides a vivid picture of camp life and routine activities such as drill and picket duty, as well as battles and skirmishes with Confederate troops. Shaw was a soldier from Otselic, Chenango County, New York who served in 35th New York Infantry, Co. H from 1861-1862.  Shaw reenlisted and served in the 2nd New York Heavy Artillery, Co. G, from 1864-1865.  He fought in the battles at Bull Run and Antietam.

Letters describing the Battles of Gettysburg and Vicksburg: The New York State Library's Manuscripts and Special Collections Unit has many collections related to the Civil War. In July 2013, in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of two major Civil War Battles, Gettysburg and Vicksburg, the Library digitized selected letters that contain some descriptions of the battles.

Last Updated: September 25, 2019