Most people will find at least one ancestor on their tree who served in some form during the American Civil War (1861-1865). Since people are fascinated with this time frame in American history, many archives and records have been saved over the decades.
A good online resource is Civil War Archives.com. This site has Union and Confederate Regimental Histories, Union Corps Histories, Soldier’s Letters and Diaries. Start a search with the ‘File Index’ tab at the bottom. Click on it to show several categories: soldiers’ letters, regiments, diaries and battle reports. Use the ‘Search This Site’ tab for a specific surname or military unit. The information on the regiments is very complete. Reading some of the diaries, even if it not your ancestor but of the same unit can really give insight to life during the war. The same is true for the letters, most transcribed so you can read them easier. The site includes what information has been gathered on the specific soldier who wrote the letter(s).
The online site for Virginia Tech has a good selection of digital copies of letters written by the soldiers during the Civil War. It has a wide variety, not just those from Virginia. The letters are transcribed since the handwriting can be difficult to read.
Another site is titled Civil War Home, with a large selection of letters. Many of the letters or journals are from non-soldiers writing about life during the war. One very interesting was a Georgia Plantation during Sherman’s Army on the March to the Sea, as recorded in the diary of Dolly Sumner Lunt.
The University of Washington has a digital collection of Civil War letters donated by families.
Photos: Envelope of a Civil War letter and the handwritten letter from a soldier in a Tennessee hospital in 1863.
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