Newspaper articles provide the next best thing to eyewitness accounts of past events.
That is why I am fascinated by a project that digitized many articles from newspapers published during the Civil War. You can visit the site and browse countless articles.
To give you a sense of the content, read this article written in January 1861. It covers the beginnings of the nation’s unraveling soon after the first wave of southern states’ secession.
There was a high degree of civility evident in those early days before the bombardment of Fort Sumter.
The digitization was made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, in collaboration with the University of Richmond and Tufts University.
The University of Richmond is also engaged in another digitization project focusing on the emergence of emancipation as a major issue of the war.