First shots fired: April 12, 1861

Quick! What happened 150 years ago today? At 4:30 a.m., to be precise? If you’ve looked at the display in the Andersen Library lobby, or if you know your history, you answered: the first shots of the American Civil War were fired on Fort Sumter.

That’s right, 150 years ago today the bloodiest war in United States history began. Before it ended in 1865, approximately 665,850 U.S. soldiers had lost their lives. That’s more than the number of U.S. soldiers who died in World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War combined (Atlas of the Civil War, p. 337, Reference Collection E468 .W754 2004).

The Andersen Library has many books and videos on the American Civil War. Some of these are highlighted in a display in the Andersen Library lobby. Others can be found in the online catalog by doing a Subject Browse search on: United States history Civil War.

You can also read original newspaper accounts of the war in several Library databases, including ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2007); ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Chicago Tribune (1849-1987); and America’s Historical Newspapers. You can limit your search by date in each database.

Also be sure to check out the display on “Whitewater During the Civil War” in the Special Collections area on the first floor of the Library. Special Collections is open 9:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For assistance in finding information about the American Civil War, ask a reference librarian.

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