“The mad, determin’d tussle of the armies”

—Walt Whitman, Specimen days, 1882


A Comrade, Major Robt. H. Poore. [Richmond?, 1863]
(Broadside 1863 .C54b)

This broadside, printed on silk, memorializes the life of Major Robert H. Poore and his heroic death at the Battle of Gettysburg. Poore, of Fluvanna County, Va., was a student at the University of Virginia during the 1842-1843 session.

Stephen Crane, “The red badge of courage,” a leaf from the original manuscript, 1894.
Clifton Waller Barrett Library of American Literature (MSS 5505-a)

Though Stephen Crane was born six years after the end of the Civil War, his novel imagining a soldier's experience of the conflict is perhaps the most widely read depiction of the war, assigned to countless high-school students every year. Crane's story of a young Union soldier, inspired particularly by accounts of the Battle of Chancellorsville, sought to immerse readers in the psychological and physical battlefield, and was lauded for its extraordinary realism.



John Esten Cooke, The life of Stonewall Jackson: from official papers, contemporary narratives, and personal acquaintances. Richmond, Va.: Ayres & Wade, 1863.
Clifton Waller Barrett Library of American Literature (PS1382 .L57 1863)

Writers on both sides of the conflict wasted no time in publishing histories of the Civil War. The Virginia novelist John Esten Cooke wrote this glowing biography of Stonewall Jackson within months of Jackson’s death at Chancellorsville in May of 1863. At the time, Cooke was himself serving under J. E. B. Stuart and contributing war reportage to Southern periodicals.

C. L. Peticolas, and St. George Tucker, The Southern cross. Richmond, Va.: Geo. Dunn & Co.; Columbia, S.C.: Julian A. Selby, 1863.
(M1642 .P47 S6 1863)

The Southern cross, with lyrics by St. George Tucker, served as the Confederate equivalent of The Star-spangled banner. The song opens with, “Oh! Say can you see, through the gloom and the storm,” and the final verse concludes, “And the Cross of the South shall triumphantly wave / As the flag of the Free, or the pall of the brave.”

Tucker attended the University of Virginia from 1843 to 1845. He served in the 15th Virginia Infantry, falling ill during the Seven Days’ Battles in 1862; he died of consumption in January 1863. Tucker is buried in Maplewood Cemetery, Charlottesville.

John B. Minor, To the men of Albemarle. Charlottesville, 28 June 1863.
(Broadside 1863 .T6)

Albemarle County residents experienced a major scare when a military expedition—part of the Union’s diversionary efforts during the Gettysburg Campaign—entered Louisa County in late June 1863. Confederate Secretary of War James A. Seddon authorized a committee of leading citizens—University of Virginia law professor John B. Minor, lawyer Egbert R. Watson, mail contractor and farmer Slaughter W. Ficklin, and Charlottesville mayor Eugene Davis—to issue this appeal for volunteer “Minute Men … to aid in guarding … against a possible raid” on the neighboring town of Gordonsville and its critically important railroads.

J. H. Smith, Affairs in the Shenandoah Valley. [Virginia?, ca. 1864]
Elizabeth Cocke Coles Fund (Broadside 1863 .S55)

Written by a Union infantryman from Iowa, these verses describe the efforts of the Army of the Shenandoah to ward off repeated Confederate incursions into Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. The poem’s hero is General Philip Sheridan (“Phil”), who gained fame in the dramatic conclusion to the Valley Campaigns. His success ended Confederate hopes of invading the North.