When I was a kid, say around nine years old, my favorite war was the Civil War. I would look at battlefield maps for the famous battles and try to get right into them from their bird’s eye views. My friend Stewart and me would replay battles using pencils and legal, drawing charges with scribbled arrows. I would spend hours building terrains with blankets on top of books and manage both sides. Boys have favorite wars and the carnage is abstract and obviously unreal.
A few years later, while on a drive with my family to South Carolina, we stopped at Gettysburg. From the ground the viewpoint was wholly first person, yet the nature of the long past battle had long been stripped from the Pennsylvania countryside.
The National Graphic has a web portal devoted to the preservation of Civil War battlefields. There is an interesting graphic presentation by Michael Melford about the status of the war’s historical sites.
The New York Times has an excellent topic page for the Civil War. However, I highly recommend jumping to the timeline where the underlying commentary tracks the events leading up to including the war itself and its resolution.
A few more finds:
Civil War Chronicles: America’s Oddest Election The Sure Win That Lincoln Nearly Lost
By Harold Holzer, American Heritage Magazine
The American Civil War – The History Channel