News & Articles

New Website Detailed Improvements

New Website Launched. New Navigation. Easy Search. Responsive Design for Viewing on Any Device. All Topics with Their Own Unique URLs for Easy Access.

The newly designed website features essays, photographs and resource materials on the over 200 published topics, out of the 325 topics which will ultimately be published, representing the core body of knowledge about the Civil War. Written by today's foremost Civil War historians, essays on this site are presented in an easy-to-read format online or are downloadable as PDFs. Recommended reading lists, websites and other resources are provided.

Among the major changes are:

  • Essays and resources now appear on the topic page rather than in PDF documents and drop down menus (PDF documents are still available to download).
  • Topics can be found four different ways—Search, Browse Topics, Tagged Word Cloud, and Featured Topics.
  • When browsing topics, topics are displayed as playing cards each with a photograph or drawing illustrating the topic making it much clearer which are published and which are not and also what each topic is about.
  • The website search engine auto suggests topics as users type their search phrase.
  • Each topic now begins with a précis.
  • Each topic now has its own URL making it easier to share topics or embed them in emails, CVs, course materials etc.
  • Tagging of articles for the Word Cloud makes it easier for users to find all topics related to a particular subject.
  • Featured topics on the homepage show users topics of current interest.
  • Resources are fully listed on the Resources page rather than behind drop down menus.
  • Picture titles are now displayed and sources acknowledged.
  • Responsive design results in the webpage automatically adjusting to fit the size of users’ browser windows, whether on a computer monitor, smart phone, iPad or any other viewing device.
  • Various Search Engine Optimization features have been implemented to so that the Essential Civil War Curriculum website will be found earlier in Google searches.


Benefits for users include:

  • Content is immediately accessible, easier to read and the amount of valuable information in each topic is more obvious.
  • Finding topics of interest is much easier and quicker.
  • The précis for each topic give users a quick overview of the topic and helps them decide whether to read on.
  • Content can be viewed on any device.


Benefits to authors include:

  • Increased exposure of your published material to a much wider audience.
  • Topic URLs can be embedded in your CV, emails, classroom materials giving readers direct access to your published material.

A Sesquicentennial Project of The Virginia Center for Civil War Studies at Virginia Tech

Essential Civil War Curriculum    Follow us on Facebook

Contact us:  416 917 6029

Our Cause: "Increasing interest in and knowledge of the American Civil War during and after the Sesquicentennial"



New Website Announcement


To the Essential Civil War Curriculum User Community:

We are pleased to announce the launch of our new and improved website!

Our site is fast becoming a valuable source of current scholarship about the Civil War with improved search functionality and accessible, rich content.

We now offer over 200 peer-reviewed articles written by today’s foremost Civil War historians. Each article, which is easy to view and download has a précis for a quick overview of the content.

I invite you to search the topic of your choice. And, please forward our site to your contacts who might be interested.

Essential Civil War Curriculum

If you are an historian or author and would like to contribute, please submit a proposal to us by email. Our authors benefit from improved exposure of their published material to a wider audience through SEO to help obtain higher search rankings. Since each topic now has a unique URL, authors are able to embed links in a CV, email or classroom materials for direct access to the published topic.

We are looking for content, so please keep us in mind. Future improvements will include social media outreach and the introduction of a Civil War blog.

Please feel free to send your feedback and suggestions to help us continually improve.


JLD (Laurie) Woodruff

Executive Director and Editor

The Essential Civil War Curriculum

A Sesquicentennial Project of The Virginia Center for Civil War Studies at Virginia Tech


Essential Civil War Curriculum    Follow us on Facebook

Contact us:  416 917 6029

Our Cause: "Increasing interest in and knowledge of the American Civil War during and after the Sesquicentennial"

New Topics for December

Topics published in December 2016 2016:

Daniel F. O“Connell, The Lynchburg Campaign
J. Arthur Moore, Boys of the Civil War

Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Facebook Join The Essential Civil War Curriculum group on Facebook and receive automatic notification of newly published Topics.

New Topics for October

Topics published in October 2016:

Mary A. DeCredico, Richmond Capital of the Confederacy

New Topics for September 2016

Topics published in September 2016:

Kenneth J. Winkle, Washington: Capital of  the Union
Ben Parten, The Port Royal Experiment

New Topics for August 2016

Topics published in August 2016:

David B. Sachsman, The Civil War in Film
Chris Mackowski, Grant“s Memoirs
Jack H. Lepa, The Battle of Lookout Mountain
George A. McLean, Jr., A Railroad War

New Topics for July 2016

Topics published in July 2016:

Robert M. Dunkerly, The Carolinas Campaign
Timothy J. Orr, The 20th Maine Volunteers

New Topics for June 2016

Topics published in June 2016:

Clint Johnson, Reenacting
Michael R. Bradley, Nathan Bedford Forrest
Kathleen L. Gorman, The Ku Klux Klan
John V. Cimprich, Fort Pillow

April 12, 2011 Essential Civil War Curriculum Launched


 The Virginia Center for Civil War Studies has launched The Essential Civil War Curriculum

 BLACKSBURG, Virginia (April 12, 2011) The Essential Civil War Curriculum, a Sesquicentennial Project of the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies and the History Department of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) was launched today under the URL

 The Essential Civil War Curriculum is a website that contains a definitive list of Civil War topics and related content that public and academic audiences wishing for a broad understanding of the Civil War should study, housed at the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies. For the average person interested in the Civil War the challenge today is that there is too much information. Google any Civil War topic on the internet and the reader will be presented with thousands of hits. Whether the information is accurate, whether it’s worth looking at, whether the reader is looking for the right information, is not answered. What do those interested in the Civil War need to know to increase their knowledge and understanding of this important event in American history?  The Essential Civil War Curriculum, overseen by professional Civil War historians, guides the reader to the important topics and sources that every student of the Civil War, amateur or professional, needs to understand.

 The Essential Curriculum is owned by the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies and is sponsored by Professor William C Davis and Dr. James I. Robertson Jr. They are working with Mr. Laurie Woodruff who conceived, financed and manages and edits the website and the Essential Civil War Curriculum.  A Board of Historians composed of the country’s most eminent Civil War scholars individually and collectively approves all scholars wishing to contribute to the website and all postings and content produced from contributors through the wiki model under which the Essential Civil War Curriculum is managed.

 The Center’s mission is to be “a formal entity for studying and sharing knowledge” about the Civil War, and in particular to “target both academic and public audiences." The Essential Civil War Curriculum has been designed to achieve these objectives and therefore will appeal to young and old; the academic scholar, amateur historian, teacher and student. The website’s content is produced under a wiki model. By invitation from the sponsors, individual scholars can contribute by populating the topics. A member of the Board of Historians will review and approve all contributions and the website’s sponsors will have final say on whether any contributed content is actually posted on the site, thereby ensuring the quality of the information. 

 Eventually the website will house information on over 400 topics. We have launched the website with only a handful of topics completed, by members of our Board of Historians, to encourage other scholars to participate in the process and we expect the content to grow rapidly and steadily. If readers do not find what they are looking for initially, we encourage them to keep coming back and meanwhile to browse what has been published.

 Our Cause: “Increasing interest in and knowledge of the American Civil War during the Sesquicentennial”


Laurie Woodruff

Executive Director and Editor  Essential Civil War Curriculum


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