Firsthand accounts Archives

Firsthand accounts

  • Civil War Times Magazine

    Aboard Sultana

     ‘I could see fire and hear groans and screams and seemen jumping in the river by the hundreds . . . . ’ William French Dixon—20 years old—was farming in Henderson County, Kentucky, when Lincoln’s call for volunteers in 1861...

  • Civil War Times Magazine

    Early Days- Martin A. Haynes

    The war’s first large land battle began with both sides confident of quick victory. But as one Union participant remembered in 1865, few things in wartime are really as they first appear. About a mile beyond was the little village of...

  • Civil War Times Magazine

    Missing the Signs

    Objectivity is part of a historian’s creed, but every decision he makes about a piece of evidence is filtered inevitably through his own perspective. The contents of a document are fixed, but the meaning of its words is oftentimes open...

  • Civil War Times Magazine

    The Moral Regiment at the Battle of Vicksburg

    A Union regiment enough, an Illinois unit that fought at Vicksburg was known as the “Moral Regiment”(or “Teachers Regiment”). However, as the diary of Sergeant composed only of men with high moral character? Oddly William Murray...

  • Civil War Times Magazine

    A Dog’s Life

    Our own regiment had a pet of great value and high regard in “Little Jim,”…a small rat terrier of fine blooded stock…given by a friend to John C. Kensill, with whom he was mustered into the United States service “for three years,...

  • Civil War Times Magazine

    Dead Horses in Sheridan’s Ashes

    William Daniel Cabell of Norwood, Virginia, served the Confederacy as the captain of the New Market Home Guard from 1861-65. During this time New Market, a village near the Tye River’s entrance to the James  River, was renamed...

  • Civil War Times Magazine

    The Letters of James Quilliam

    James Daniel Quilliam was born on February 2, 1836, to James and Margaret Cain Quilliam, who had emigrated to the United States from the Isle of Man. The family had purchased land in the rural area of Westfield, N.Y., where J.D. Quilliam...

  • Civil War Times Magazine

    Desperate Deeds of Valor

    New Englander Warren Lee Goss caught “the war fever” after hearing that Confederate sympathizers in Baltimore had attacked the 6th Massachusetts on its way to Washington, D.C., on April 19, 1861. He soon found that Army life required a...

  • Civil War Times Magazine

    Dueling Diarists in Winchester

    Of all the towns and villages in the Union or Confederacy during the Civil War, Winchester, Virginia, was fought over most. The sleepy town of just 4,400 residents changed hands 72 times, including 13 times in one  day. This...

  • Civil War Times Magazine

    Seven Devils to Each Man

    As evening fell over Gettysburg on July 2, 1863, exhausted troops realized that the fight was not yet won. Sergeant Valerius Giles of the 4th Texas Infantry, Robertson’s Brigade, recalled the futile Confederate assault on Little Round...

  • Civil War Times Magazine

    ‘You may judge how it was when I tell you how we...

    George W.W. Hawk was the oldest child and only son of Daniel and Phoebe Hawk of Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. He had four younger sisters whom he mentioned in several of his letters home:  Mary, age 20; Harriet, 17; Sadie, 14; and...

  • Civil War Times Magazine

    That Ramrod Did the Work

    William Patteson was 15 and living near Culpeper Court House when the war, quite literally, came home. Fleeing ahead of a Union army charged with confiscating or destroying civilian property, Patteson joined up with the 21st Virginia...

  • Civil War Times Magazine

    The Boys From Brenham

    When the Civil War began, Virginius Pettey was a 25-year-old bachelor practicing law in Brenham, Texas. His office was on the second floor of a building near the county courthouse. He lived in a small nearby settlement called Hog’s...

  • Civil War Times Magazine

    Wrath Awaits the Invader

    Captain John Dickison and his men staked their claim to a piece of the southern partisan legend at Gainesville. On a swampy, hot Monday in midday August 1864, a subdivision of the U.S. Army embarked upon an invasion expedition from Baldwin...

  • Civil War Times Magazine

    ‘I Could Do But Little for Them’

    The 13th South Carolina Regiment was with the Army of Northern Virginia from April 1862 to the end of the war. It saw combat at the Second Battle of Manassas in late August 1862 and then at Chantilly on September 1. Dr. Spencer Glasgow...

  • Civil War Times Magazine

    ‘What I Thought At Antietam’

    John Rankin was a 19-year-old private in Company A of the 27th Indiana Volunteer Regiment when, in September 1862, he fought in the Battle of Antietam. Years later he recorded his impressions of that harrowing experience. He seemed...