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

1862/09 - Lee's Letter to Davis Detailing Upcoming Maryland Campaign CivilWarTalk
"...must endeavor to harass, if we cannot destroy them..."
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1861/04 - Robert E. Lee's Resignation from the U.S. Army CivilWarTalk
"I therefore tender my resignation, which I request you will recommend for acceptance."
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1865/04 - Lee's Report of Surrender to Davis after Appomattox CivilWarTalk
"...I did not see how a surrender could have been avoided..."
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1863/07 - Col. Joshua Chamberlain's Report on the Battle of Gettysburg CivilWarTalk
"...I ordered the bayonet. The word was enough. It ran like fire along the line..."
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1862/12 - Major General Burnside's Report on the Battle of Fredericksburg CivilWarTalk
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1865/07 - Report of Clara Barton's Expedition to Andersonville CivilWarTalk
"...huddled like cattle, without shelter or blanket, half-clad and hungry..."
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1862/04 - Report of Major General U. S. Grant on the Battle of Shiloh CivilWarTalk
"The enemy suffered terribly from demoralization and desertion."
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1862/09 - Lee's Special Orders No. 191 CivilWarTalk
"The army will resume its march tomorrow, taking the Hagerstown road."
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1861/04 - Correspondence Preceding Bombardment and Evacuation of Fort Sumter CivilWarTalk
"...to avert the calamities of war, would voluntarily evacuate..."
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1861/08 - Report of Brigadier General Irvin McDowell  on the Battle of Bull Run CivilWarTalk
"...The hottest part of the contest was for the possession of this hill with a house on it...."
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1861/02 - Jefferson Davis' First Inaugural Address CivilWarTalk
"...we may hopefully look forward to success, to peace, and to prosperity..."
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1861/01 - Louisiana's Ordinance of Secession CivilWarTalk
"AN ORDINANCE to dissolve the union between the State of Louisiana and other States..."
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1861/01 - Georgia's Ordinance of Secession & Causes Which Have Led to the Separation CivilWarTalk
"...having dissolved their political connection with the Government of the United States..."
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1861/01 - Alabama Ordinance of Secession & Additional Constitutional Framework CivilWarTalk
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1861/01 - Florida's Ordinance of Secession CivilWarTalk
"...the State of Florida is hereby declared a Sovereign and Independent Nation..."
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1861/01 - Mississippi Secession Ordinance & Declaration of Causes CivilWarTalk
"...to dissolve the union between the State of Mississippi and other States...."
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1860/12 - South Carolina Ordnance & Declaration of Secession CivilWarTalk
An Ordinance To dissolve the Union between the State of South Carolina....
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1861/02 - Proposed Constitutional Amendments of the Peace Conference CivilWarTalk
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1860/12 - The Crittenden Compromise CivilWarTalk
"...serious and alarming dissensions have arisen between the Northern and Southern States..."
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1789/09 - Constitution of the United States of America CivilWarTalk
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