This page is to help you find out more not only about the Civil War itself but also the links between the United States and Wales, including family links. We've included a short bibliography and some useful websites.
There have been many books written about the American Civil War, but there is one book which specifically complements this series, Llwch Cenhedloedd - Y Cymry a Rhyfel Cartref America (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch) by Jerry Hunter, which is available in Welsh only at present. It is unique in that it chronicles the impact that the war had specifically on the American Welsh population in that period.
For a comprehensive, one-volume history of the conflict, its causes and aftermath, probably the best recent work is Battle Cry of Freedom (Penguin) by James M. Mcpherson - a concise and readable book, winner of the Pullitzer Prize in 1989, which gives you the whole panorama of the war. Other interesting books more specifically about the Welsh communities in America include: Welsh Reflections: Y Drych and America 1851-2001 by Aled Jones and Bill Jones (Gwasg Gomer), and New Lives in the Valley about the Welsh who went over to work in the slate quarries of Vermont, by Gwilym R. Roberts (Somersworth).
There is a lot of useful material to be found in the National Library of Wales, including some of the original letters and copies of newspapers form the period. There's also a history of the Welsh in America written in 1872 by the Rev R.D. Thomas called Hanes Cymry'n America, which stars with Prince Madog and proceeds to give the stories of every important Welsh individual who had migrated there to that point.
On a lighter note, there is a series of detective novels by an American author called Owen Parry, which follow the adventures of Abel Jones, a Welsh-born detective who solves mysteries during the Civil War: Faded Coat of Blue and Call Each River Jordan (Avon Books) are amongst the two most popular in the series.
The list of websites covering the American Civil war is enormous, given the importance of the conflict in the formation of the U.S., and given the sheer numbers that were killed in the conflict. It is possible to find the history of almost every regiment that fought, but as a starting point for any research on the web, the following have proven useful:
To see some of the actual letters sent by American Welsh soldiers, go to the Gathering the Jewels site, where you can find some collected letters and other documents relating to the War and Wales.
The Smithsonian Institute - a website which covers the whole history of the United States. One of the most important museums in the US, it is also a world famous research centre.
Many aspects of the war are covered at AmericanCivilWar.com also, which contains extensive photos, documents and individual histories. Similar, but perhaps better designed is www.civilwar.com, and www.civil-war.net, which has some very good photography from the War. More high quality information can be found at the American Civil War Center, this site also contains details of how to start tracing your family tree, if you think that a family member took part in the conflict. More of this kind of data can be found at www.civilwardata.com, though it is not free on this site.
One of the most interesting projects on the web concerning the Civil War looks at the impact of the war in two valleys, one in the North and the other in the South, from the time of John Brown to after the war. It's called The Valley of the Shadow project. For more information about the period from a British perspective, given that there are many Civil War societies in the UK, go to www.americancivilwar.org.uk.