Suggested Resources on the Civil War and the Battle of Antietam from the Archivist

by Mary-Jo Kline

Prof. McPherson is the author of Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), the authoritative study of the battle and its aftermath.

You and your students may also want to look at some of these recent studies:

  • Gallagher, Gary W., ed. Antietam: Essays on the 1862 Maryland Campaign. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1989.
  • Harsh, Joseph L. Confederate Tide Rising: Robert E. Lee and the Making of Southern Strategy, 1861–1862. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1998.
  • Murfin, James V. The Gleam of Bayonets: The Battle of Antietam and the Maryland Campaign of 1862. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1965.
  • Priest, John M. Antietam: The Soldiers’ Battle.  New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.
  • Sears, Stephen W. Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam. New Haven, CT: Ticknor & Fields, 1983.

For resources on other aspects of the Civil War, go to the History Now issue on “New Interpretations of the Civil War” (Winter 2010). You’ll find the essays there a useful refresher course.

There are excellent Internet resources on Antietam. You may want to start with the National Park Service website for Antietam battlefield. The “History and Culture” segments for the NPS battlefield sites are especially good.

Be sure to supplement this with Antietam on the Web, a noncommercial website created and maintained by Brian Downey. The menu leads you to an “Overview” and “Timeline” as well as battle maps, biographical sketches of participants, reports from 315 commanders, original articles, primary documents, images, and a gazetteer. You name it, this has it. I’m in love with this website. The “exhibits” even include the text of Lee’s Order 191 and a lengthy essay on this document order and other military intelligence operations before the battle.

More than six years ago, History Now published an excellent essay on the Emancipation Proclamation by Allen Guelzo. Be sure to read the “The Emancipation Proclamation: Bill of Lading or Ticket to Freedom?

And I’d like to add this book, especially useful for classroom purposes, which appeared just after our 2010 issue was published:

Vorenberg, Michael. The Emancipation Proclamation: A Brief History with Documents.  Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010.

Try to find these books for more material on Pope:

  • Cozzens, Peter. General John Pope: A Life for the Nation. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000.
  • Cozzens, Peter, and Robert I. Girardi, eds. The Military Memoirs of General John Pope. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998.

Party politics didn’t vanish in the Union during the war, and these authors look closely at the phenomenon:

  • Neely, Mark E. The Union Divided: Party Conflict in the Civil War North. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002.
  • Weber, Jennifer L. Copperheads: The Rise and Fall of Lincoln’s Opponents in the North. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

If your students want to know more about efforts of the Union and the Confederacy to win support from Great Britain, this is a good survey:

  • Jones, Howard. Blue & Gray Diplomacy: A History of Union and Confederate Foreign Relations. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010.

And you have a choice of good (but very different) biographies of Lord Palmerson:

  • Barton, Gregory A. Lord Palmerston and the Empire of Trade. Boston: Prentice Hall, 2012. A short biography appropriate for AP students.
  • Brown, David. Palmerston: A Biography. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010. This will probably remain the definitive biography for some time.
  • For readers with a taste for Internet sources, here are also good sketches of Palmerston.

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