Civil War Crash Courses | American Battlefield Trust

Take a Crash Course in the Civil War

Library of Congress

You are here

SHARE THIS
 

Short on time and want to get an overview of the Civil War?

Are you looking to impress your friends, family, or coworkers with knowledge of history, but you don’t know where to get started? We know that the Civil War can seem like an overwhelming topic to tackle.  But don’t fret. The American Battlefield Trust has broken down the Civil War into easily digestible sections for those of you who are looking for just enough information to be dangerous about the topic, to those who are seeking to become the next leading Civil War historian. Just select the option below that works best for your schedule to get started on your crash course in Civil War history!

15 Minutes

Short on time and want to get an overview of the Civil War? Here's how to get started:

  1. Read a brief overview of the American Civil War. This short article gives a brief overview of the war and focuses on the causes of the war.
  2. Watch The War Between the States In4. This short gives a very brief overview of the entire war: the lead-up, the conflict, and the aftermath.
  3. Browse the Civil War Timeline to help put the war’s events into context and relationships.

 

Total time: 15 minutes | Additional Resouces

Do you have another 45 minutes? Keep scrolling to learn more about the Civil War.

Do you want to learn about the Civil War on your lunch break? Here's how to get started:

  1. Gain a quick overview of the Civil War:
    • Browse the Civil War Timeline to help put the war’s events into context and relationships.
    • Read Civil War Facts to learn basic facts, dates, and information about the war while clarifying common misconceptions.
    • Watch the Entire Civil War Animated Map. This 30-minute video gives you the Civil War's key events in chronological order. 
  2. Watch the Union Army In4 video to learn why men took up arms for the Union cause. 
  3. Learn about military-specific vocabulary in Military Engagements In4 video.
  4. Understand the implications of the war by watching the Remembering the War In4 video.

 

Total time: 62 minutes | Additional Resources

Do you have a few more hours to spare? Keep scrolling to learn more about the Civil War.

One Day

Do you need an introduction to the Civil War on a day off? Here's how to get started:

  1. Gain a quick overview of the Civil War:
  2. Learn about the Trigger Events of the Civil War, an overview and timeline of the major events that triggered the war.
  3. Watch videos about important and influential battles throughout the war, such as Shiloh and Gettysburg.
  4. Learn about the soldiers that fought in the war with videos like the Life of a Soldier In4.
  5. Watch videos about warfare in both the Eastern and the Western fronts.
  6. Gain an understanding of what happened after the war through The Stalking of John Wilkes Booth article.
  7. Understand the implications of the war with Monuments In4 and Remembering the War In4.

Total time: 367 minutes (6.2 hours) | Additional Resources

Nothing to do with the rest of your weekend? Keep scrolling to continue on your Civil War learning path.

One Weekend

Have a free weekend and want to learn about the Civil War? Get ready to impress your friends with your history knowledge:

  1. Gain a quick overview of the Civil War:
  2. Understand the causes of the Civil War with articles like Trigger Events of the Civil War and the Voices of Secession.
  3. Meet the influential people of the Civil War by reading their biographies, such as the biography of Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis.
  4. Watch videos about important battles throughout the war, such as Vicksburg and Gettysburg.
  5. Learn about everyday soldiers with videos like the Life of a Soldier and the movie Glory.
  6. Read original documents from the Civil War, such as the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment, to learn about the tumultuous political sphere.
  7. Gain an understanding of what happened after the war through The Stalking of John Wilkes Booth and Lincoln’s Funeral Train and Grand Review articles.
  8. Understand the implications of the war with the Monuments In4 and Remembering the War In4 videos.
  9. Finish with exploring the technological advancements during the war, such as Photography and Railroads.

 

Total time: 998 minutes (16.6 hours) | Additional Resources

Take the deep dive! Keep scrolling spend the rest of your week learning about the American Civil War.

One Week

Do you want to become an expert on the Civil War? Here is how to get started:

  1. Gain a quick overview of the Civil War:
  2. Understand the causes of the Civil War with articles like the Trigger Events of the Civil War, the Voices of Secession, the Missouri Compromise.
  3. Meet the influential people of the Civil War by reading their biographies, such as the biographies of Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee, and Jefferson Davis.
  4. Watch videos about important battles throughout the war, such as Antietam, Shiloh, and Gettysburg.
  5. Learn about everyday soldiers with articles like the Life of a Soldier and Shaping a Volunteer Army and read about a Confederate soldier’s daily experience with the memoir Co. Aytch: A Confederate Memoir of the Civil War.
  6. Read original documents from both Union and Confederate sides of the Civil War, such as the Emancipation Proclamation and the Cornerstone Speech, to learn about the tumultuous political sphere.
  7. Understand the semantics of Civil War warfare by learning about Army Organization, Navies, and Civil War Armies.
  8. Gain an understanding of what happened after the war through The Stalking of John Wilkes Booth and Lincoln’s Funeral Train and Grand Review articles.
  9. Understand the implications of the war with this article on Civil War Casualties, as well as our Monuments In4 and Remembering the War In4 videos.
  10. Finish with exploring the technological advancements during the war, such as Photography, Railroads, and Civil War Medicine.

 

Total time: 2,426 minutes (41 hours) | Additional Resources

Don't stop learning about the Civil War. See which Civil War books we recommend to keep on your learning path.

Now that you are well down the learning path, check out all of the great content that the American Battlefield Trust Education Department has to offer. From our award winning Animated Maps to our Civil War Curriculum, we have content for life long learners and K-12 classrooms, alike, covering the first 100 years of American history.