The library catalog will be offline for scheduled maintenance on Wednesday, June 20. All library branches are open regular hours.

The Civil War Sesquicentennial

CRRL & Civil War Sesquicentennial

The CRRL is proud to partner with area historians, museums, tourism agencies, organizations, churches, and scholars to provide programs and information that can promote understanding of the events that exploded here in the 1860s and their far-reaching impact.

Over the last four years the community has been invited to commemorate—through lectures, re-enactments, exhibits, film screenings, and musical performances—the extraordinary fact that we were a war zone from 1861-1865.


Upcoming Civil War Programs | Recent Blog Posts | Making Sense of the Civil WarNew Civil War Books |   Book Excerpt | On-Site Resources | Civil War History Blogs and Web Sites

Slaves Crossing the Rappahannock
Picture of Fugitive Slaves Crossing the Rappahannock

Upcoming Civil War Programs

Juneteenth Celebration

New City Fellowship, 200 Prince Edward Street, Fredericksburg, VA. Saturday, June 20, at noon

Enjoy inspirational and educational performances and activities to promote cross-cultural understanding, unity, and peace—and stop by the library’s table to see what we're sharing that day.

Screening of "The Spy Within" movie

Salem Church branch, Monday, June 29, 6:30-8:30

Come see a movie that highlights the heroic efforts of women, especially African-American women, during the Civil War. Re-enactors and the director will be on hand for discussion. You can also get details about local history sites and upcoming events from the Spotsylvania County Visitors' Center staff. 


After Appomattox - Series of Three Topics

Headquarters, 7:00 - 8:30

Wednesday, September 23 - Skeleton Crew:  Burials and the Creation of the Fredericksburg National Cemetery, with Don Pfanz

Wednesday, September 30 - Uneasy Alliance:  Brokering Peace with Grant and Lee, with Frank O’Reilly

Monday, October 5 - Going Back:  Returning to Fields of Glory, with Beth Parnicza

Presented by historians of the National Park Service.  

Recent CRRL Blog Posts About the Civil War

Let's Talk About It: Making Sense of the Civil War Discussion Series

This was a series of five reading and discussion sessions moderated by Jeff McClurken, chairman of the Department of History and American Studies at the University of Mary Washington. After each session, the discussion questions and reading materials were archived here.

New Civil War Books added to the collection

The 150th anniversary of the Civil War has led to a publishing boom in this section. Our librarians have carefully chosen the best of the new and newly-reissued to share with CRRL readers.

Book Excerpt

Virginia's many rivers were strategic points in the Civil War. Thousands of men had to cross them at a time, whether by boat or pontoon bridge, or, in shallower places, on foot.  Major rivers slowed down--or, in the case of flood, could block movement entirely. Generals placed their supply depots on rivers, and gunboats patrolled the waters, blasting artillery positions as well as enemy strongholds in large plantation houses.

In Mark Nesbitt's Rebel Rivers, readers are treated to an easy-to-follow guide to river sites and their Civil War history. Rebel Rivers, published by Stackpole Books, is available to check out from the library. The author is also the creator of the Ghosts of Gettysburg Candlelight Walking Tours® and the Ghosts of Fredericksburg Tours.

This excerpt is used with the author/copyright holder's permission.

Read More.... | See all Civil War 150 Book Excerpts

On-Site Resources

Wounded Soldiers
Articles on the Civil War
Written by library staff and volunteers who look at aspects of the War
from a local perspective.

Virginia History Books on the Civil War
Our popular and recent history books may be placed on reserve to be
checked out at your local branch. Includes volumes on local battles,
medicine, ironclads, photographs, and biography.

Virtual Virginiana
Here you will find online versions of rare print books that are often kept under lock and key.  You will find here books on slavery-some written by local people, a book on Reconstruction, and a memoir from one of Jackson's foot cavalry.

Wounded Soldiers from the Battle of Wilderness

Civil War History Blogs and Web Sites

These Web sites are from historical organizations and are updated frequently. As the Sesquicentennial progresses, they are likely to feature information on the War and its commemorations.Lacy House

Virginia Sesquicentennial Commemoration of the American Civil War
The American Civil War Commission was tasked by the Virginia General Assembly in 2006 to "plan, develop, and carry out programs and activities appropriate to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War." This site is a central hub for finding Sesquicentennial events throughout the Old Dominion, including the Fredericksburg area.

Central Virginia Battlefields Trust
CVBT's two-fold mission is 1) to purchase significant Civil War battlefields and landmarks, both in fee and in easement, and to preserve them in perpetuity and 2) to serve as a facilitator and advocate for battlefield preservation on a local, state and federal level.

Civil War Memory
Here are the reflections of a Civil War historian & high school history teacher with many links to interesting articles.

Civil War Soldiers & Sailors System
The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System is a computerized database containing very basic facts about servicemen who served on both sides during the Civil War. The initial focus of the CWSS is the Names Index Project, a project to enter names and other basic information from 6.3 million soldier records in the National Archives. The facts about the soldiers were entered from records that are indexed to many millions of other documents about Union and Confederate Civil War soldiers maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration.

Civil War Trust
The Civil War Trust is dedicated to saving America's remaining Civil War battlefields. Civil War Trust members have saved 29,000 acres of hallowed ground in 20 states. Its Facebook page, Civil War Sesquicentennial Network, has more than 14,000 members.

Free Lance-Star: Past Is Prologue
"News and musings on Virginia history, the Civil War and heritage preservation issues."

Friends of the Wilderness Battlefield
FWB hosts public events year-round and links to news articles concerning the Wilderness Battlefield and efforts towards its preservation.

National Park Service: Mysteries and Conundrums
"Exploring the Civil War-era landscape in the Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania region." An unofficial and fascinating blog.

NPS' John Hennessy: Fredericksburg Remembered
"The challenges and adventures of interpreting the history of Fredericksburg, Stafford, and Spotsylvania to a sometimes ambivalent public." Many posts concern African-American and Civil War history.
Aquia Creek Landing
Rappahannock Valley Civil War Round Table
The Rappahannock Valley Civil War Round Table was founded as an organization open to all people interested in learning about the Civil War and in preserving the hallowed ground where the soldiers fought. This very active organization has an online newsletter and monthly dinner meetings (reservations required) featuring speakers on Civil War history.

See Civil War through New Eyes
Clint Schemmer's article for the Free Lance-Star details the Virginia Historical Society's new exhibit, "An American Turning Point: Virginia in the Civil War." The huge (and free!) show will run February 4 to December 30, 2011. It has many artifacts with the human stories behind them--soldiers, civilians, and slaves--with much information presented impressively at audio-visual stations. Its curator predicts that it will be the largest exhibit in the nation to mark the Sesquicentennial, and it will eventually tour to other institutions.

To the Sound of the Guns: Civil War Artillery, Battlefields and Historical Markers
A popular and frequently-updated blog for Civil War enthusiasts.

The Virginia Historical Society
"...exhibitions, education, research, tours, bus trips, lectures, classes, collections, outreach, library, shop, and everything Virginia history!" - Much of which has to do with the Civil War and some of which is online.

*Photographs from the Library of Congress' Civil War Photograph collection

 The two photos in the Civil War blog section are The Lacy House, Falmouth, Virginia (Chatham) and 
Aquia Creek Landing, Va. Wharf with transport and supplies