Visualizing the War

shades_chm_0001-cropAlexander Simplot. The Great Naval Battle Opposite the City of Memphis, 1862. Chicago History Museum.

Today it is difficult to imagine not having access to the news but during the Civil War sources of news were scarce. Northern audiences kept abreast of the war through popular newspapers such as Leslie’s Illustrated and Harper’s Weekly, often enhanced by illustrations made by “Special Artists” who traveled with Union forces; the southern public relied on regional newspapers whose production was less consistent. Soldiers on both sides wrote letters and kept illustrated journals documenting battlefield scenes, as well as camp and prison camp life. Though most slaves could not read, they listened to their owners discuss the war and spread information quickly through word of mouth.

A website co-sponsored by Vanderbilt University Libraries, Middle Tennessee State University Walker Library, and the MTSU Center for Historic Preservation, with generous support from the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area.

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