The Genesis of the Civil War


If you want to understand what happened at Fort Sumter to start the Civil War, this book is indispensable.  Samuel Wylie Crawford was the surgeon for the Fort Sumter garrison.  Afterward, he became an infantry officer and a major general in the war.

Not only was he present for the events he details, but he also did a marvelous job of gathering resources.  He quotes documents and letters he received from other participants, having had access to a number of different sets of papers, including the papers of South Carolina’s Francis Pickens.  The result is a finely crafted history that is almost a primary source itself.

And the best news is you can have this book for free.  You can download it here or here.

You should read this book as soon as you can if you want to consider yourself a serious student of the Civil War.  It’s that important and that well done.



  1. Ricky Hollis · · Reply

    Al, Thank you for letting us know about this book and being able to download it. I enjoy your posts and THANK YOU for the pictures you took on our field trip.

    Ricky Hollis

    1. My pleasure, Ricky. Thanks for your kind words.

  2. Thanks for finally pushing a book I didn’t have to pay for 😉

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