Missouri Digital Heritage :: Explore the Civil War :: Civil War Resources

Missouri Digital Heritiage provides instant access to more than 500,000 digitized Civil War records, accompanied by research guides, lesson plans and other tools designed to help Missourians learn more about this tumultuous and violent period in their state’s history.

Resources include state and federal government records held by the Missouri State Archives, as well as dozens of unique and varied collections held by local institutions around the state. These resources can help scholars, students, and family historians to explore the war and its aftermath.

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Frank and Jesse James Circuit Court Documents
Documents that reveal many of the James brothers’ activities during the late nineteenth century and include several indictments showing criminal charges ranging from grand larceny to murder.

Guerrillas and Outlaws
Part of the Missouri Valley oversize artwork, these 53 drawings feature members of William Quantrill’s Guerrillas, the James-Younger gang, and others associated with these men, like Brigadier General Joseph O. Shelby.

Institutional Collections

American Civil War in Missouri
The American Civil War in Missouri collection includes manuscripts (letters and diaries) offering valuable insight into how Missourians - both civilians and those in the military - experienced the Civil War.

Boone County Historical Society Civil War Collection
This Civil War collection of personal letters, diaries and photographs is held by the Boone County Historical Society.

Civil War eBook Collection, State Historical Society of Missouri
This collection contains various documents related to the Civil War in Missouri.

Civil War Manuscripts, State Historical Society of Missouri
A selection of documents coving topics such as the impact an encamped army has on nearby towns, families with relatives imprisoned for Confederate sympathies, guerrilla warfare in Missouri, and the organization of troops.

Civil War on the Western Border: The Missouri-Kansas Conflict, 1854-1865
Documents related to the hostilities that shook the Missouri-Kansas border region before and during the American Civil War. The collection includes photographs, letters, diaries, maps, and military records from over 25 contributing institutions.

Community and Conflict: the Impact of the Civil War in the Ozarks
An online digital collection of documents and artifacts that depict life in the Ozarks between 1850 and 1875 through letters, maps, diaries, court records and photographs.

Confluence and Crossroads - The Civil War in the American Heartland
A digital repository Civil War documents in southeast Missouri and southern Illinois covering 1854-1877, which represents the time period between the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the end of Reconstruction.

Missouri Civil War Battle Flags
As part of a long-term project to conserve its collection of Civil War battle flags, the Missouri State Museum has conserved 45 of the collection's approximately 135 flags. Missouri's Civil War flags represent both Union and Confederate regiments.

Missouri Judicial Records, Missouri State Archives
This database of circuit and probate court files for Greene County Circuit Court, Jasper County Circuit Court, New Madrid County Probate Court, St. Charles County Circuit Court, and St. Louis Probate Court.

Missouri Supreme Court Historical Database
Missouri’s historic Supreme Court cases hold countless details about our state’s past. Tens of thousands of cases, dating back to 1783, examine topics such as slavery, agriculture, industry and education.

Northwest Missouri State University Civil War Books
Collection of eight monographs dating from 1867-1920. Two of the books are novels about the Civil War, while the rest are personal accounts and histories of various battles and events during the Civil War.

Over There: Missouri and the Great War
Over There: Missouri and the Great War contains letters, diaries, memoirs, photographs, postcards, and other materials documenting the lives of Missouri soldiers and civilians during the First World War.

Palmyra Massacre Collection
The Palmyra Massacre occurred in 1862 in Palmyra, Marion County, Missouri, when 10 Confederate prisoners were shot in retaliation for the abduction of a local Union sympathizer.

St. Louis Area Civil War Digitization Project
A wonderful resource includes items such as letters, diaries, photographs, military certificates, muster rolls, broadsides, loyalty oaths, and many more unique documents.

Trans-Mississippi Theater Photo Archive
Hundreds of photographs from the Civil War.

Trans-Mississippi Theater Virtual Museum
Civil War-era artifacts including letters, maps, diaries, weapons, flags, uniforms and photographs.


Harrison Gleim Civil War Papers, 1860-1891
Papers of Harrison Gleim, who served in the Civil War as Lieutenant and quartermaster in the Missouri Light Artillery, and later as Major and aide-de-camp in the 2nd Missouri Cavalry. Includes military orders, personal and official correspondence, and quartermaster records.

Missouri Soldier’s Database: War of 1812 - WWI
Over 380,000 records of Civil War soldiers can be found in this database, which also includes the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, the Heatherly War, the Mormon War, and the Iowa War.

Union Provost Marshal Records
During the war, each division, brigade, and corps of the Union Army included a provost marshal. These records offer a unique look at the lives of citizens who came into contact with the military.


Border Star
This collection includes issues of the Border Star newspaper published weekly in Westport, Missouri from the years 1858 to 1860, covering various concerns of Westport, especially slavery.

Cape Girardeau Argus
A weekly newspaper for Cape Girardeau, Missouri, which was published by W. H. Hamilton. The paper runs from June 18, 1863 through June 1, 1871, covering the Civil War era.

Hannibal Clipper
The issues from this Hannibal, Missouri newspaper are from 1874-1875 and 1877.

Liberty Tribune
A newspaper from Clay County, Missouri covering the years 1846-1848, 1852-1867, 1869-1878, 1880, 1882, and 1883.

Phelps County New Era
Missouri University of Science and Technology has digitized the Phelps County New Era for 1875-1878; issues are displayed here.

St. Louis Christian Advocate
The St. Louis Christian Advocate Newspaper was published weekly by a committee of ministers for the Methodist Episcopal Church South in St. Louis. This collection covers August 22, 1857 through October 22, 1879.

St. Louis Daily Missouri Republican, 1861-1865
The Daily Missouri Republican printed four pages each day, providing extensive war coverage with descriptions of significant events and the many Missourians who played key roles in the larger conflict.


Benjamin Gratz Brown, 1871-1873
The records include commissions, correspondence, court proceedings, indictments, invitations, invoices, legal opinions by the Attorney General, maps, newspaper clippings, petitions, proclamations, receipts, reports, telegrams, and writs of election.

Claiborne Fox Jackson, 1861
The Records of Governor Jackson consist of four items of correspondence. He served as governor for less than a year before a convention was called to decide whether Missouri would secede from the Union.

Hamilton Rowan Gamble, 1861-1864
The Records (1861-1863) of Governor Hamilton Rowan Gamble include appointments, resignations, letters of recommendation, correspondence, memoranda, petitions, an oath of loyalty, and a proclamation.

Hancock Lee Jackson, 1857
The Records (1856-1857) of Governor Hancock Lee Jackson (1796-1876) include correspondence and petitions related to appointments, criminal cases, elections, extraditions, pardons, railroads, and swamp lands.

Joseph Washington McClurg, 1869-1871
Records include: appointment commissions; correspondence; legal opinions from the Missouri Attorney General; loyalty oaths; newspaper clippings; pardons; petitions; Thanksgiving proclamations; resolutions; trial transcripts; committee and other reports; railroad statistics; and writs of election.

Missouri House and Senate Journals, 1820-1881
This collection contains 19th Century Journals of the Missouri House of Representatives and the Missouri Senate. These Journals record the proceedings of the state legislature.

Robert Marcellus Stewart, 1857-1860
The Records (1857-1860) of Governor Robert Marcellus Stewart (1815-1871) include appointments, correspondence, petitions, and swamp land records.

Thomas Clement Fletcher, 1865-1869
The collection include affidavits, testimonies, and other court materials; appointment requests; certifications of vacancies and gubernatorial orders of elections; commissions; correspondence; minutes; oaths of loyalty; petitions; and proclamations.

Willard Preble Hall, 1864-1865
This collection consists of the records of Governor Willard Preble Hall, including commissions, correspondence, and petitions. When the state convention of July 1861 vacated statewide offices, Hall was chosen to serve as lieutenant governor.

Popular and Material Culture

Where the Wilson Meets the James
This virtual museum uses archaeological research and historic documents to tell the story of the events of Wilson Creek, including the infamous Civil War battle.

Published Sources

Civil War Monographs
Contributed by: University of Missouri - Columbia
The Civil War in the United States is a fascinating era in our history. This collection focuses on the Civil War in Missouri.


Freedom Suits Case Files, 1814-1860
These case files consist of 301 legal petitions for freedom by people of color originally filed in St. Louis courts between 1814 and 1860. They make up the largest corpus of freedom suits available to researchers in the United States.

The Revised Dred Scott Case Collection
The records displayed in this exhibit document the Scotts’ early struggle to gain their freedom through litigation and are the only extant records of this significant case as it was heard in the St. Louis Circuit Court.

Research Guides

Guide to Civil War Resources at the Missouri State Archives
The Missouri State Archives has the state’s largest collection of Civil War documents. This guide references records dating from 1844 through 1875, created at all levels of government.

Civil War Refugees in the Ozarks, Western Historical Manuscript Collection
These are very few scholarly works that touch on the question of refugees in the Ozarks. This guide includes some basic sources for genealogists and historians.

Guide to African American History, Missouri State Archives
The Guide references documents created at all levels of government, and addresses topics such as slavery, abolition, emancipation and the Civil War.

Lesson Plans

Before Dred Scott: Freedom Suits in Antebellum Missouri
Designed to assist elementary and secondary teachers, this lesson plan uses archival sources to explore the struggle of antebellum slaves seeking their freedom in Missouri courts.

United States Colored Troops in Civil War Missouri
In this lesson plan, students explore the role of Missouri’s African American Union troops in the Civil War through the use of primary sources.

Missouri’s Early Slave Laws: A History in Documents
In this lesson plan, students use primary sources to learn about Missouri’s slave laws through 1850. Although prior to the Civil War, this lesson can help set the stage for exploring the conflict that would begin in 1861.

Planning a trip to Jefferson City with fourth or fifth grade students?

Don’t miss Civil War Archives Alive! This free, forty minute performance is sponsored by the Friends of the Missouri State Archives and Hawthorn Bank. Come travel back to the 1860s and experience how the Civil War affected civilian and soldier alike in Missouri. Schedule your visit today! learn more


I Goes to Fight mit Siegel: Missouri’s Germans and the Civil War
German immigrants transformed Missouri’s economics, politics, religion, and culture. Dr. Ken Luebbering explores the important role Missouri’s German immigrants played in the years prior to and including the Civil War.

Civil War’s First Blood: Missouri 1854-1861
Authors John Bradbury and James Denny discuss the complicated role Missouri played during the first year of the Civil War, key political and military figures involved, military operations carried on throughout the state.

Occupied Women: Gender, Military Occupation, and the American Civil War
In this documentary, 12 distinguished historians consider how women’s reactions to occupation affected both the strategies of military leaders and ultimately even the outcome of the Civil War.


Civil War Records from the St. Louis Circuit Court
The Missouri State Archives was awarded a $330,619 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to make cases related to the Civil War available to the public before the war's sesquicentennial in 2011.

Conservation of the Dred Scott Papers
In November 1999, the documents from the original 1846 case were brought to the Office of the Secretary of State for conservation treatment. The following pages describe the conservation treatment of the Dred Scott papers.


1850, 1860 and 1870 Census Schedules
Family Search provides numerous free genealogical resources on their website including census records from before and after the Civil War.

Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System
National Park Service database containing facts about servicemen who served on both sides during the Civil War.

Civil War St. Louis
Features resources centered around St. Louis during the Civil War era. Includes battle information, biogropahies and historical essays.

Index of Missouri Civil War Links and Resources
Missouri Civil War data collected by the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS), the nation's oldest existing Civil War descendant organization.

Missouri Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission
The Commission works to increase awareness and understanding of Missouri's role in the Civil War. Information about resources and events throughout the state have been compiled by the Commission, and are available online.

Missouri Soldiers who Served with Illinois Regiments
St. Louis Public Library's index for Missouri soldiers who served with regiments in Illinois. Numerous Missouri soldiers enlisted in neighboring states for a variety of reasons.

Missouri Soldiers who Served with Kansas Regiments
St. Louis Public Library's index for Missouri soldiers who served with regiments in Kansas. Numerous Missouri soldiers enlisted in neighboring states for a variety of reasons.

Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies and Navies
Cornell University's online Compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate Armies and Navies easily searchable by keyword.

The American Civil War Home Page
Award-winning Civil War resource portal compiled by the University of Tennessee's School of Information Sciences.

The Civil War in Missouri, Missouri's Civil War Heritage Foundation
Site devoted to the border state's role in the conflict. Provides biographies, campaign and battle descriptions, chronology, and feature stories.