Virginia History Books

Browse selected volumes on popular topics, such as the Civil War, the American Revolution, Fredericksburg, and the surrounding counties. These titles are updated frequently, so check back often for more recommendations. Most books can be requested and checked out from your home library branch. Use the menu below to limit your search to areas that interest you.

For students wanting historical tales--true and otherwise--check out our lists of Virginia History Books for Kids.

A History of Our Own: Stafford County, Virginia

By Albert Z. Conner, Jr.

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Mr. Conner's book gives Stafford County its own place in American history, from the 17th to the 20th centuries. Filled with photographs and illustrations, this handsome book gives an excellent overview of the county's development and includes noteworthy individuals and events that impacted the area.
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A Pocket History of the Civil War

By Martin F. Graham

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This is a small book. It lacks gorgeous illustrations, but it -is- concise, plainly-written and published by one of the most recognized companies for military history for the National Civil War Museum. If a reader wants a compact overview, complete with "Test Your Knowledge" sections for each chapter, the pocket history is the way to go. Includes a glossary.

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A Slave No More: Two Men Who Escaped to Freedom: Including Their Own Narratives of Emancipation

By David W. Blight, editor

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Through a combination of intelligence, daring, and sheer luck, the men reached the protection of occupying Union troops. Historian Blight prefaces the narratives with each man's life history. Using genealogical information, Blight has reconstructed their childhoods as sons of white slaveholders, their service as cooks and camp hands during the Civil War, and their climb to black working-class stability in the North, where they reunited their families. In the stories of Wallace Turnage and John Washington, we find portals that offer a rich new answer to the question of how four million people moved from slavery to freedom.
From the publisher's description.

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Battle of the Ironclads: The Monitor and the Merrimack

By Alden R. Carter

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This book for elementary school students examines the construction, battles, and technological and historical impact of the Civil War battleships, the Monitor and the Virginia (Merrimack).

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Battling for Manassas: The Fifty-Year Preservation Struggle at Manassas National Battlefield Park

By Joan M. Zenzen

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This is the story of how one American Civil War site has garnered national attention and taught Americans lessons about the future of historic preservation. It covers the earliest moves to create the Manassas Battlefield Park up to the struggle to prevent the Disney site nearby.
(From the publisher's description)
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Bleeding Blue and Gray: Civil War Surgery and the Evolution of American Medicine

By Ira M. Rutkow

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"...surgeon and medical historian Rutkow argues that it is impossible to grasp the realities of the Civil War without an awareness of the state of medicine at the time. The use of ether and chloroform remained crude, and they were often unavailable--so many surgical procedures were performed without anesthesia, on the battleground or in a field hospital. This meant that "clinical concerns were often of less consequence than the swiftness of the surgeon's knife." Also, the existence of pathogenic microorganisms was still unknown, as was disinfection. From the soldiers who endured the ravages of combat to the government officials who directed the war machine, from the good Samaritans who organized aid commissions to the nurses who cared for the wounded, this book presents a story of suffering, politics, character, and, ultimately, healing."
(From the publisher's description)

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Bloody Roads South: The Wilderness to Cold Harbor, May-June 1864

By Noah Andre Trudeau

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In this authoritative chronicle of the great 1864 Overland Campaign in Virginia, Noah Andre Trudeau vividly re-creates the brutal forty days that marked the beginning of the end of the Civil War. In riveting detail Trudeau traces the carnage from the initial battles in Virginia's Wilderness to the gruesome hand-to-hand combat at Spotsylvania's "Bloody Angle," to the ingenious trap laid by Lee at the North Anna River, to the killing ground of Cold Harbor.
Through fascinating eyewitness accounts, he relates the human stories behind this epic saga. Common soldiers struggle to find the words to describe the agony of their comrades, incredible tales of individual valor, their own mortality. Also recounting their experiences are the women who nursed these soldiers and black troops who were getting their first taste of battle. The raw vitality of battle sketches by Edwin Forbes and Alfred R. Waud complement the words of the participants.
From the publisher's description

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Brady's Civil War

By Webb Garrison

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This is a collection of Civil War images photographed by Mathew Brady and his assistants. On page 79, view the destruction on the Fredericksburg battlefield caused by a single projectile fired by gunners of the 2nd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery. Pages 152 and 153 show federal engineers rebuilding the town's infrastructure. Although the caption states that the rail track near the Potomac is being repaired, the photograph clearly refers to the Rappahannock. The photograph on page 232 shows the remains of the Phillips house that had been seized by General Burnside during his assault on the town. Look on page 251 for the last Fredericksburg photograph that Brady took. He used a telescopic lens and climbed to the top of a railroad bridge to make this photo of a group of men under the command of Robert E. Lee.

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C.S.S. Virginia: Mistress of Hampton Roads

By John V. Quarstein

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A lengthy account of the naval battle. Available to read in the Virginiana Room.
Part of the Virginia Regimental Histories series.

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Civil War Medicine: 1861-1865

By C. Keith Wilbur

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A good choice for getting a grounding in the subject or school reports. Many illustrations.

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