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Burton Historical Collection

Sources for Civil War Research

This bibliography provides an overview for Civil War research in the Burton Historical Collection. The BHC contains a wealth of material from the antebellum and Civil War era. Here one can research the history of slavery in Detroit (Michigan outlawed slavery when it became a state in 1837), the local Underground Railroad, and leading Michigan abolitionists Sojourner Truth, Henry Bibb, William Lambert, and George DeBaptiste.

One will also find such poignant documents as deeds of manumission, bills of sale, and letters and diaries of Civil War soldiers including James Vernor (of Vernor’s Ginger Ale) and Lorenzo Barnes whose wife and children were informed of his death near the end of the war in October 1864 as he was about to start for home.

Students and researchers can peruse a nearly complete run of William Lloyd Garrison’s abolitionist newspaper – The Liberator ; the papers of Austin Blair, Michigan’s war-time governor; anti-slavery and pro-slavery pamphlets and sermons by national and local notables; a facsimile of the Emancipation Proclamation; an early copy of the 13th Amendment; and photographs of some of Michigan’s regimental units.


Atlas of the battlefields of Chickamauga, Chattanooga and vicinity.  Washington.  1901, 22 maps.  call no. 912.737  U589bc  1863.

Military maps illustrating the operations of the armies of the Potomac & James, May 4th 1864 to April 9th 1865….  Washington.  1867, 17 maps.  call no. 912.737  U588mp  1864-65.


Anderson, William M.  They died to make men free: a history of the 19th Michigan Infantry in the Civil War.  Berrien Springs, MI.  1980, 320 p.  call no. 977.4  355i19  A522t

Bertera, Martin N. and Crawford, Kim.  The 4th Michigan Infantry in the Civil War.  Lansing, MI.  2010, 412 p.  call no. 973.7474  B461f

Bibb, Henry.  Narrative of the Life and Times of Henry Bibb, an American Slave.  1849, 204 p.  call no. 326.92 B47n3 reserved section

Breyfogle, William.  Make Free: The Story of the Underground Railroad.  Philadelphia, PA.  1958, 287 p. call no 973.71158 B75m

Butler, Marvin Benjamin.  My Story of the Civil War and the Under-ground Railroad.  Huntington, IN.  1914, 390 p.  call no. 973.781 B97

Cockrum, William Monroe.  History of the Underground Railroad as it was Conducted by the Anti-slavery League.  Huntington, IN.  1915, 328 p.  call no. 973.71158 C64 

Coffin, Levi.  Reminiscences of Levi Coffin, the Reputed President of the Underground Railroad.  Cincinnati, OH.  1876, 712 p.  call no. B C6543r

Crawford, Kim.  The 16th Michigan Infantry.  Dayton, OH.  2002, 645 p.  call no. 973.7474  C857s

Danforth, Mildred E.  A Quaker Pioneer: Laura Haviland, Superintendent of the Underground.  New York, NY.  1961, 259 p.  call no. B H2995 D29

Ellis, Helen H.  Michigan in the Civil War: A guide to the material in the newspapers 1861-1866.  Lansing, MI.  1965, 404 p.  call no. 977.407  E47m

Fairbank, Calvin.  Rev. Calvin Fairbank during Slavery Times: How He “Fought the Good  Fight” to Prepare “the Way”.  Chicago, IL.  1890, 207 p.  call no. B F1507, Edgar DeWitt Jones Lincoln Collection

Fredericks, Pierce G.  The Civil War as they knew it: Abraham Lincoln’s immortal Brady’s famous photographs.  New York.  1961, 213 p.  call no. 973.7  F8383c

Haviland, Laura Smith.  A Woman’s Life-work, Labors, and Experiences.  Cincinnati, OH.  1881 (later editions 1884, 1902), 515 (520, 637) p.  call no. B H2995w

Herek, Raymond J.  These men have seen hard service: the First Michigan Sharpshooters in the Civil War.  Detroit, MI.  c1998, 561 p.  call no. 973.7474  H421t

Hoffman, Mark.  My brave mechanics: the First Michigan Engineers and their Civil War. Detroit, MI.  c2007, 470 p.  call no. 973.7474  H675m

Humphries, Eck.  The Underground Railroad.  McConnelsville, OH.  1931, 47 p.  call no. 973.71158 H889u

Hutchins, Richard G.  Howell goes to war 1861-1865 (Livingston County, MI).  [Michigan : R.G. Hutchins].  2006, 416 p.  call no. 977.4  H97h

Illinois Military and Naval Department.  Report of the Adjutant General of the state of Illinois…. Springfield, IL.  1886. 8 Vols.  call no. 977.3  355.07  I2ra 

Indiana Adjutant General’s Office.  Report of the Adjutant General of the state of Indiana…. Indianapolis, IN.  1865-69, 8 vols.  call no. 977.2  355.07  I3r

Johnson, Homer Uri.  From Dixie to Canada: Romances and Realities of the Underground Railroad.  1894, 194 p. call no. 973.71158 J63 reserved section

Lanman, Charles.  The red book of Michigan: a civil, military, and biographical history. Washington.  1871, 549 p.  call no. 977.4  L27r

Magill, Edward Hicks.  When Men Were Sold: The Underground Railroad in Bucks County, PA.  Boston, MA.  1898, 26 p.  call no. 973.71158 M27

May, George S.  Michigan Civil War history: an annotated bibliography.  Detroit, MI.  1961, 128 p.  call no. 016.9774  M45m

Michigan Adjutant General’s Office. Records of service of Michigan volunteers in the Civil War, 1861-65.  Kalamazoo, MI.  190-, 46 vols.  call no. 977.4  355.07  M5r

Michigan Adjutant General’s Office. Alphabetical general index to public library sets of 85,271 names of Michigan soldiers and sailors individual records.  Lansing, MI.  1915, 1097 p. call no. 977.4 355.07 M5ri

Michigan Freedmen’s Progress Commission.  Michigan manual of Freedmen’s progress.  1968. Cover title: Negroes in Michigan history.  Reprint with index added by John Green, editor.  Detroit, MI.  1968, 371p.  call no. 977.4 325.26 M5fa

Michigan Gettysburg Battlefield Commission.  Dedication of the Michigan monuments on the battlefield at Gettysburg.  Pennsylvania.  n.d.  call no. 973.7349  M58d

Millbrook, Minnie D.  A study in valor: Michigan Medal of Honor winners in the Civil War. Lansing, MI.  1966, 155 p.  call no. 973.76  M611s

Mitchell, William M.  The Under-ground Railroad.  Westport, CT.  1970 (reprint), 172 p. call no. 973.71158 M696u

New York (State) Adjutant General’s Office.  A record of the commissioned officers, noncommissioned officers, and privates….  Albany, NY.  1864-68, 8 vols.  call no. L974.7  355.07  N4r

Ohio Roster Commission.  Official roster of the solders of the state of Ohio in the War of the Rebellion 1861-1866.  Akron, OH.  1886-95, 12 vols.  call no. 977.1  355.07  O3

Peckham, Howard H.  A list of Michigan regiments of the Civil War…and Chronological list of battles of the Civil War, showing the particular Michigan units involved.  1961.  call no. L977.4  355.07  P331

Pettit, Eber M.  Sketches in the History of the Underground Railroad, Comprising Many Thrilling Incidents of the Escape of Fugitives from Slavery, and the Perils of Those Who Aided Them.  Fredonia, NY.  1879, 174 p. call no. 973.7115 P45, microfilm BHC #572

Poremba, David.  If I am found dead: Michigan voices from the Civil War.  Ann Arbor, MI. c2006, 245 p.  call no. 973.7474  I23

Rawick, George P.  The American slaves: a composite autobiography.  [Series: Contribution in Afro-American and African studies].  Westport, CN.  1972, 19 vols.  call no. 973.711  A517

Rawick, George P.  The American slaves: a composite autobiography. [ Series: Contribution in Afro-American and African studies].  Westport, CN.  1972, 19 vols.  call no. 973.711  A517  Suppl.

Robertson, John.  Michigan in the war.  Lansing, MI.  1882, 1039 p.  call no. 977.4 355.07 M5m2

Siebert, Wilbur Henry.  The Mysteries of Ohio’s Underground Railroads.  Columbus, OH.  1951, 330 p.  call no. 973.71158 S57m

Siebert, Wilbur Henry.  The Underground Railroad from Slavery to Freedom.  New York, NY.  1968, 478 p. call no. 973.7115 S57a

Siebert, Wilber Henry.  The Underground Railroad in Massachusetts.  Worchester, MA.  1936, 78 p.  call no. 973.71158 S57u

Siebert, Wilbur Henry.  Vermont’s Anti-Slavery and Underground Railroad Records.  Columbus, OH.  1937, 113 p.  call no. 973.71158 S57v

Smedley, Robert C.  History of the Underground Railroad in Chester and the Neighboring Counties of Pennsylvania.  Lancaster, PA.  1883, 407 p.  call no. 973.71158 S63 

Smith, George Owen.  The Lovejoy Shrine: The Lovejoy Station on the Underground Railroad.         Princeton, IL.  1949, 36 p. call no. 973.71158 S648

Still, William.  The Underground Rail Road: A Record of Facts, Authentic Narratives, Letters, etc., Narrating the Hardships, Hair-breadth Escapes and Death Struggles of the Slaves in Their Efforts for Freedom.  Philadelphia, PA.  1872, 780 p. call no. 973.71158 S85 1872

Stowe, Mark S.  Company B, 6th Michigan Cavalry.  Grand Rapids, MI.  c2002, 119 p.  call no. 973.7494 S892c

Thornton, Leland W.  When gallantry was commonplace: the history of the Michigan Eleventh Volunteer Infantry, 1861-1864.  New York.  1991, 257 p.  call no. 977.4 355.07 T395w

Trapp, Glenda K.  Index to the report of the Adjutant General of the state of Indiana.  Evansville, IN.  1987, 2 vols.  call no. 977.2 355.07 I3r index

United States Quartermaster’s Department.  Roll of honor of names of soldiers who died in defense of the American union, interred in the national <and other> cemeteries. Washington, D.C.  1865-71, 27 vols.  call no. 973.767  U5q

Washington, Margaret.  Sojourner Truth’s America.  IL.  2009, 478 p.  call no. B T767 W2

Wayland, John Walter.  John Kagi and John Brown.  Strasburg, VA.  1961, 137 p. call no. 973.7116 W36j

Wisconsin Adjutant General’s Office.  Wisconsin volunteers in the War of the Rebellion.  1861-1865, arranged alphabetically.  Madison, WI.  1914, 1137 p.  call no. 977.5  355.07  W7v

Williams, Frederick D.  Michigan Soldiers in the Civil War.  Lansing, MI.  2002, 87 p.  call no. 973.7474 W671m 2002

Williams, James.  Life and Times of James Williams, a Fugitive Slave with a Full Description of the Underground Railroad.  San Francisco, CA.  1873, 129 p. call no. 973.71158 W67l3

Williams, James.  Life and Times of James Williams, a Fugitive Slave with a Full Description of the Underground Railroad, 5th Edition.  Philadelphia, PA.  1893, 130 p.  call no. 973.71158 W67l5  Woodford, Frank B.  Abraham’s children: Michigan episodes in the Civil War.  Detroit, MI. 1961, 305 p.  call no. 977.407 W855f


Hamtramck, MI.  List of enrolled men in the township of Hamtramck.  August 23, 1864.  n.p. 1864, 1 sheet.  call no. 099.737  H181

Hamtramck, MI.  Lists of persons liable to draft in the 12th sub-district Hamtramck, Wayne County, at this date March 11, 1865.  n.p. 1865, 1 sheet.  call no. 099.737  H1816

Biography Files and Excerpts and Miscellanea

Bibb, Henrycall no. RRF Bibb, Henry

Civil War Picture Album.  Carte de visite portraits dedicated to the 3rd Mich. Cavalry.  call no. E&M 977.4 355c3p

Civil War Veterans of the 102 U.S. Colored Troops.  The first Michigan Colored regiment.  call no. E&M 977.4 355c

DeBaptiste, George.  call no. RRF DeBaptiste, George

Finney, Seymourcall no. RRF Finney, Seymour

Lambert, Williamcall no. E&M B Lambert, William

Michigan – History – Civil War.  call no. E&M 977.4 355.07

Sojourner Truthcall no. RRF Sojourner Truth

Underground Railroadcall no. E&M 973.71158


General Index to Pension Files, 1861 – 1934.  National Archives T288.  544 reels.  call no. BHC #1324

Returns from the United States military posts, 1800 – 1916.  24 reels.  call no. BHC #1531


With over 50 manuscript collections containing at least some Civil War material, these are the larger collections.

MS/Barnes, Lorenzo.  1818-1864.  1 wallet

MS/Blair, Austin.  1838-1921.  64 boxes

MS/Chapin, Marshall W.  186-1864.  1 box, 1 wallet

MS/Civil War Correspondence.  1860-1866.  1 box

MS/Dawes, Martin C.  1862-1865.  1 box

MS/DeBaptiste, George.  1850-1920.  1 wallet

MS/Detroit Civil War Bounty Payments.  1864-1865.  6 boxes

MS/Grand Army of the Republic, Detroit Post #384.  1887-1929.  5 boxes

MS/Lambert, William.  1820-190.  1 wallet

MS/Lansing, Frank E.  1844-1908.  1 box

MS/Soldier’s Aid Society of Michigan, Detroit.  1861-1866.  1 box, 4 wallets, 10 volumes

MS/Stocking, William R.  1869-1923.  4 boxes

MS/U.S. General Hospital, Detroit.  1864-1865.  4 boxes

MS/Vernor, James.  1843-1927.  11 boxes, 1 LMS folder


For Civil War photographs, use the following subject headings on call slips.

D/Forts – Wayne

LD/Forts – Wayne

D/History – Civil War

LD/History – Civil War

D/Streets – Griswold & State (Finney’s Barn)

D/Underground Railroad

LD/Underground Railroad

M/History – Civil War

LM/History – Civil War


Detroit Daily Advertiser and Tribune.  30 reels of microfilm.  call no. BHC #1557

Detroit Free Press, 1831-1922.  online database

Liberator, 1833-1864

Voice of the Fugitive, 1851-1825

For additional information, see the Burton Historical Collection’s card catalogs and start with:

  • Military Service Lists Catalog (white cards)
  • Local History Catalog (orange cards)
  • Picture catalog (white cards)
  • Manuscript Catalog (white cards)
  • Detroit and Michigan Biography Index (blue cards)
  • Burton Book Catalog (white cards)
  • Detroit Newspaper Chronology

Try these subject headings:

United States/History – Civil War – Campaigns

United States/History – Civil War – Personal Narratives

United States/History – Civil War – Regimental Histories

United States/History – Civil War – Registers, lists, etc.

Slavery in the United States

Slavery in the United States – Anti-Slavery Movements

Slavery in the United States – Controversial Literature

Michigan/History – Civil War

Michigan/Underground Railroad

Detroit/History – Civil War

Detroit/Underground Railroad

See also:

Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion.  Washington, D.C.  1894-1917.  27 vols.  call no. 973.75 U5n

United States War Department.  The War of the Rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies.  Washington, D.C.  1880-1901.  70 vols.  Location: B39N

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