July 01, 2013, 2:21 PM —
Image credit: Flickr/Ron Cogswell
If you've checked just about any mainstream news source today, you'll know that July 1 marks the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War's most bloody conflict between the North and the South -- the Battle of Gettysburg.
Fought over a period of three days in the farmlands of southern Pennsylvania near the Maryland border, Gettysburg was the turning point of the Civil War. While in terms of casualties the battle roughly was a draw -- both sides had more than 23,000 soldiers killed, wounded, captured or missing -- it was the beginning of the end for the Confederacy. Not only did General Robert E. Lee lose nearly one-third of his officers, Lee's aura of invincibility -- established over the previous two years in one remarkable victory after another against larger and better-equipped armies -- was permanently shattered.
If you're interested in Gettysburg and the Civil War in general, there are a number of databases online with a wealth of information about that horrific period in our history. I've highlighted a couple of them below:
American Civil War Research Database -- Created by a Massachusetts-based company called Historical Data Systems, this relational database focuses not on "senior military officers and major battles," but on "an analytical look at the War from the perspective of the individual soldier":
"Using information from each soldier's military and civilian experiences to build a database from 'ground up' rather than 'top down,' Historical Data Systems has created the only database of its kind that can be used for statistical and analytical examinations of the War. It is now possible to examine and measure the impact these individual soldier experiences had upon regimental effectiveness."
Information in the database includes regimental comparisons, regimental rosters, assignments, casualty analysis by battle fought, historical overview, and regimental combat effectiveness calculated by combining regimental casualty analysis, soldier entry/exit rates and battle experience. Users also can follow a soldier through the war and get information about the regiments he served and in many instances information about his home town.
This database isn't free, but it's not expensive -- $25 a year, or $10 for a seven-day visitor pass.
The Civil War Homepage -- This site features a Civil War photo database and gallery, battle maps and official records, including battle reports written by commanding generals such as Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, George McLellan, Ambrose Burnside and Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain.
Created in 1997, the Civil War Home Page is owned, managed and personally funded by a gentleman named Michael Frosch.