Of course I am not the only Trans-Mississippi historian to note the importance of newspapers. William Garrett Piston and Richard W. Hatcher III commented in the preface of Wilson’s Creek: The Second Battle of the Civil War and the Men Who Fought It, “By reading each issue between April and November 1861 of every newspaper in Missouri, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Iowa, and Kansas for which copies are now extant, we uncovered a substantial number of letters, most of which have never been used by historians. Because the war was new, these letters contain a wealth of detail on soldier life often absent from later writings. Combined with extant material located in archives, they paint a vivid portrait of the battle and the men who fought in it” (p. xv).
Oftentimes Civil War era newspapers may be found on microfilm; some have been digitized and placed on the internet. Archives, historical societies, public libraries, and university libraries are prime places to find newspapers on microfilm. As an example, the Thomas J. Harrison Public Library in my community has all available