Documents & Speeches

American History is better understood when you have the opportunity to examine the original documents and speeches as written and spoken by the people who put the words on paper, or gave the speeches in front of dozens or even thousands. Back in the era when these documents were written, they became primary sources, not only for the people of that time, but for us as well!

From Fredrick Douglas's The Hypocrisy of American Slavery speech, to Lincoln's Letter to the Widow Bixby, CivilWarTalk has many of the most often requested documents available for free as part of our Resources!

Top resources

1859/12 - Abraham Lincoln's 1859 Autobiographical Sketch CivilWarTalk
"I was losing interest in politics, when the repeal of the Missouri Compromise aroused me again..."
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1862/08 - Abraham Lincoln's Letter to Horace Greeley CivilWarTalk
"...I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause..."
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1862/01 - President's General War Order No. 1 CivilWarTalk
"...the day for a general movement of the Land and Naval forces...against the insurgent forces."
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1862/03 Franklin Buchanan's Report Concerning The Battle of Hampton Roads CivilWarTalk
"...The carnage, havoc, and dismay caused by our fire compelled them to haul down their colors..."
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1864/06 - Report of Captain Winslow of U.S.S. Kearsarge on action with the C.S.S. Alabama CivilWarTalk
"...she opened her full broadside, the shot cutting some of our rigging..."
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1862/04 - Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell's Report on the Battle of Shiloh CivilWarTalk
"...the enemy might attempt to turn, and, in fact did, but was handsomely repulsed with great loss."
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1863/08 - Maj. Gen. J. E. B. Stuart's Report on the Gettysburg Campaign CivilWarTalk
"...The whereabouts of our army was still a mystery; but, during the night, I received a dispatch.."
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1863/11 - Lieut. Gen. Ambrose P. Hill's Report on the Gettysburg Campaign CivilWarTalk
"... and for two hours rained an incessant storm of missiles upon the enemy's lines..."
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1863/08 - Col. E. Porter Alexander's Report on the Gettysburg Campaign CivilWarTalk
"...From this new position a spirited duel now ensued with their new line..."
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1863/08 - Lieut. Gen. Richard S. Ewell's Report on the Gettysburg Campaign CivilWarTalk
"...he ordered an advance of his whole brigade, and gallantly swept the field..."
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1863/07 - Lieut. Gen. James Longstreet's Report on the Battle of Gettysburg CivilWarTalk
"..Pickett's troops, after delivering fire, advanced to the charge, and entered the enemy's lines.."
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1862/10 - Reports of McClellan on Ops in No. VA, WV, MD and PA Including S. Mountain and Antietam CivilWarTalk
"...The early and disgraceful surrender of Harper's Ferry deprived my operations of results..."
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1865/04 - The Last Order of General Robert E. Lee, Commanding Army of Northern Virginia CivilWarTalk
"..the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources."
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1865/04 - Correspondence Between Grant and Lee Discussing Surrender Terms at Appomattox CivilWarTalk
"...The arms, artillery, and public property to be parked and stacked, and turned over..."
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1863/10 - Medical Director Jonathan Letterman's Report after the Gettysburg Campaign CivilWarTalk
"...the wounded were well taken care of, and especially so when we consider the circumstances..."
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1863/07 - Maj. Gen. George G. Meade's Pipe Creek Circular CivilWarTalk
"...General Reynolds, in command of the left, will withdraw the force at present at Gettysburg..."
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1863/07 - President Lincoln's Unsent Letter to Major General George G. Meade After Gettysburg CivilWarTalk
"I do not believe you appreciate the magnitude of the misfortune involved in Lee's escape."
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1863/08 - Maj. Gen. Alfred Pleasonton's Report on the Battle of Gettysburg CivilWarTalk
"...After a gallant fight, the enemy was repulsed, losing one battle-flag, and retreated..."
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1863/08 - Maj. Gen. Henry W. Slocum's Reports on the Battle of Gettysburg CivilWarTalk
"...they certainly fought with a determination and valor which has ever characterized the troops..."
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1863/08 - Maj. Gen. Oliver O. Howard's Report on the Battle of Gettysburg CivilWarTalk
"...engaged and held in check nearly double their numbers from 10 in the morning until 7..."
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