This Repository on wartime Richmond will satisfy the most avid researcher.
We’re a demanding lot. Straightforward analysis is no longer enough; we want to study individuals and events from every possible angle. The good news is that between traditional research approaches and the new tools of the digital age, historians are producing increasingly sophisticated work. The bad news? It has only made us greedier.
I encourage all those with high research expectations to visit Michael D. Gorman’s “Civil War Richmond” website. Gorman has spent the last two decades gathering, transcribing and organizing sources on nearly every aspect of the Confederate capital during the war era. I first came across the site when I was trying to understand exactly where sick and wounded soldiers from John Bell Hood’s Texas Brigade went for their medical care. Letters and diaries often mention that men were taken to a Richmond hospital, but which one? Gorman’s site gives visitors the tools to find the answers, ask new questions and draw their own conclusions.
Gorman designed the site to provide documents, without commentary, that relate to hospitals, prisons and other sites and facilities around the city. They also include fully searchable transcriptions from Richmond newspapers (the Dispatch, Enquirer, Examiner, Sentinel and Whig) from the 1850s into the 20th century, as well as articles from other major U.S. newspapers on topics related to wartime Richmond. Under the “People” tab, researchers can read about different groups of individuals—slaves, deserters, children, Unionists—in Richmond newspaper accounts. Under the “Written Accounts” tab, they can click on “Archival Sources” to find transcriptions of sources from the U.S. National Archives, Library of Congress and other repositories relating to the city. Cross-referenced, well organized and beautifully presented, Gorman’s website is one of the best starting points for anyone researching the Confederate capital at war, as well as the war in the East.