The Propaganda of War: Annotated Bibliography

Companion to “The Propaganda of War. The South’s Misinformation Machine” by Misty Smith. Originally posted for HIS-330 on Oct. 8, 2017, at Southern New Hampshire University.

The Propaganda of War: Annotated Bibliography


Cashin, Joan E. 2012. “Some of Them Also Served: White Civilians and Mobilization During the Civil War.” OAH Magazine of History 26, no. 2: 13. MasterFILE Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed September 26, 2017).

The article titled “Some of Them Also Served: White Civilians and Mobilization During the Civil War” by Joan E. Cashin appeared in the OAH Magazine of History in 2012. The article outlines the duties performed during the Civil War by white civilians on both sides such as mobilization efforts, funding events, and the spreading of propaganda used to further their causes. The article gives details of how journalists, poets, and ministers alike used their words to stir up emotions, both pro and against the war efforts. For example, “Ministers and priests inspired their congregations, while poets, such as Walt Whitman in the North and Henry Timrod in the South, composed verses lauding their separate causes” (Cashin, 14). The basis of my paper is to show how propaganda was used to justify the war on both sides, therefore, the examples within this source will be valuable in showing the correlation. For example, women’s groups during the Civil War used the war as a way to bring light to their fight for freedom, alongside that of slaves, “Elizabeth Cady Stanton helped organize the Women’s Loyal League to press for equal rights “(Cashin, 15). The author, Joan E. Cashin, received her doctorate in American History from the esteemed Harvard University and has published numerous papers and books on the subject of the civil war. Therefore, information obtained from this article can be counted as credible due to the author’s credentials.

Douglas Lee Gibboney, Scandals of the Civil War (Shippensburg, Pa.: Burd Street Press, 2005), 1-239.

Douglas Lee Gibboney’s book “Scandals of the Civil War” brings to light scandals from the Civil War era that may no longer be in the public memory or discussions. My paper discusses propaganda used during the civil war to further to cause of both the Union, Confederacy, and anyone else who may have been involved. The definition of propaganda used in my paper consists of facts, fiction, or a mixture of both to further the cause of an individual or group.

Scandals were, and have always been, a source of propaganda when used to sway someone on moral grounds. In his book, Mr. Gibboney discusses the ‘rumors’ of the day which were used by some to move others into action. For example, some groups in the South (and even opponents in the North) spread the rumors that President Lincoln was a tavernkeeper who supported drinking because he had earlier in his life held the position of a storekeeper who sold liquor (Gibboney, 3). Further rumors used at the time in the attempt to discredit President Lincoln was the rumor that he was a gay man because he has slept in the same bed with a man and that his wife was cheating because she had written to James Gourley stating “do come and stay with me all night – You can sleep in the bed with Bob and I.” (Gibboney, 83). Mr. Gibboney is a Civil War historian, graduate of Pennsylvania State University and former adjunct professor at Shippensburg University. He has numerous published works including “Stonewall Jackson at Gettysburg; Tragic Glory: A Concise Illustrated History of the Civil War; and Scandals of the Civil War “.

Tidwell, William A. “THE MAN WHO SHIFTED THE BLAME.” Civil War Times Illustrated 40, no. 3 (June 2001): 50. MasterFILE Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed September 28, 2017).

William A. Tidwell, author of the article “The Man Who Shifted the Blame” outlines the life of George Nicholas Sanders and his role in propaganda before, during, and after the Civil War. Sanders, a native of Canada, became involved in Politics in the 1840s. Over time he became deeply involved in the Democratic party of the time and the Young America movement. Eventually, he aligned himself with the Confederacy and with the use of his radical ideas traveled worldwide using propaganda in order to secure a military advantage from other nations. For example, he led a failed attempt to “procure ships for the Confederacy from other countries” but succeeded in establishing “of a Confederate operation in Canada to promote Northern anti-war sentiment” (Tidwell). The examples in this publication will be valuable in my paper to show how propaganda was not only at a local level and did not always prevail as planned. William A. Tidwell is a Civil War historian whose other works include “April ‘65: Confederate Covert Action in the American Civil War”.

Sebrell II, Thomas E., and Gordon Berg. 2015. “Persuading John Bull: Union and Confederate Propaganda in Britain, 1860-1865.” America’s Civil War 28, no. 1: 60-61. Academic Search Ultimate, EBSCOhost (accessed October 2, 2017).

“The Civil War was a propaganda war as well as a shooting war” (Sebrell & Berg). Thomas Sebrell and Gordon Berg discuss how propaganda during the civil war was used as a weapon and a means of gaining support from not only the population of the United States but also from other nations, such as Britain. The authors detail the interactions of civilians such as John Adams Knight who went to London, England in 1860 to “establish an American newspaper focused on commerce, politics, emigration, and patents”. The newspaper was in direct competition with other newspapers of the time that were spreading information about slavery (Sebrell & Berg). This source will help my paper show how some areas of propaganda were used to get away from the discussion of slavery during the Civil War and to show the ‘idea’ that other factors were in play. The author Thomas Sebrell has a B.A. and M.A. in History from the Virginia Military Institute and a Ph.D. at Queen Mary, London. Other works attributed to Thomas Sebrell include “The Charleston-Liverpool Civil War Connection”.

Library of Congress. “Chronicling America Historic American Newspapers.” 2017. Accessed October 4, 2017,

The Chronicling America project by the Library of Congress is a collection of 12,289,671 pages of Newspapers (and growing) dating from 1690 – Present. Newspapers are a wondering primary source of information when it comes to History. This resource will be valuable to my research as it is packed full of newspapers from the Civil War which outlines battles, public notices, and other articles which were most often written from one perspective over another. Each newspaper used in my paper will need to be cited individually. The Newspaper collection contained in the Chronicling America project will include articles from both the Union and Confederacy, giving a larger amount of resources for comparison. For example, some titles include The Alleghenian published in Ebensburg, PA. and The Shreveport Daily News published in Shreveport, LA.

James K. Lively, author. 1942. “Propaganda Techniques of Civil War Cartoonists.” The Public Opinion Quarterly no. 1: 99. JSTOR Journals, EBSCOhost (accessed October 6, 2017).

Author James Lively details in the article “Propaganda Techniques of Civil War Cartoonists” how cartoons were used in the propaganda front during the Civil War. Mr. Lively explains that although Newspapers did not regularly publish political cartoons during the era due to cost, magazines (which were in publication for longer periods of time) did. Therefore, “by 1860, political cartoons had come to be an important form of political expression” (Lively, 1).

According to Mr. Lively, most of the propaganda cartoons of the period were used in a pro-Union format including the Ye Book of Copperheads by Godfrey Leland which helped to change the course of the 1864 election. Furthermore, Mr. Lively explains that although the Confederacy and Southern Newspapers did not necessarily rely on political cartoons to sway opinions, their supporters, such as Great Britain, did use them frequently. This will be a valuable resource in my paper to describe alternative propaganda techniques used during the Civil War.