Top 10 Civil War Forums

by Brett Schulte on August 11, 2008 · 5 comments

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I spend quite a bit of time on various Civil War forums on the web, many of which I link to in the left sidebar of this blog.  Today I am going to list the top 10 Civil War forums on the web today based on number of posters, number of posts, post quality, and distinguished members.  Feel free to comment on your favorites and chime in on my rankings.  Do you disagree?  Tell me why in the comments!  And be sure to sign up on these sites to engage in some thought-provoking, intelligent discussion which is mostly free of personal attacks thanks to the efforts of site moderators.

Honorable Mention: Recommended American Civil War Reading Yahoo Discussion Group

URL: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/recommended_ACW_reading/

Sub-Forums: None.

Summary: Fellow blogger James Durney runs this Yahoo site.  It focuses on his Amazon.com Civil War book reviews.  I know this is supposed to be a top 10 group, but I wanted to mention James’ site as well.  The only reason it failed to make the top 10 is due to lack of readers and those actively posting.  If you are interested in the latest Civil War books make sure you sign up and let James know what you think of his reviews!

10. Armchair General American Civil War Forum

URL: http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=110

Sub-Forums: None, this is a part of the Armchair General forums and is its own sub-forum.

Summary: This forum is a part of the Armchair General Magazine web site.  Armchair General has the following information for those looking to subscribe:

Armchair General contains articles on military history, profiles of military leaders, and features that analyze the implications of decisions and look at what would be different had other courses of action been followed.

The site is newer and could definitely use some more posters to up the number of discussions.  Head over and take a look.  There is a solid foundation for growth.

Recent Interesting Threads:

What if Jackson had lived?
Civil war was all Jefferson’s fault

Civil War about slavery?

9. The History Channel Civil War Forum

URL: http://boards.historychannel.com/forum.jspa?forumID=100&start=0

Sub-Forums: None, this is a part of the History Channel forums and is its own sub-forum.

Summary: I only recently discovered the History Channel forums.  It looks like quite a few threads are updated daily and there is some interesting discussion here.  In just the past few days I’ve seen some encouraging signs, including a lengthy thread about the little-known Bermuda Hundred Campaign and one on Grant at Cold Harbor.

Recent Interesting Threads:

Another Chamberlain myth bites the dust

Cold Harbor…what was Grant smoking (drinking)?

Bermuda Hundred Campaign – Conclusion and Assessment

8. The Civil War Message Board Portal

URL: http://history-sites.net/

Sub-Forums: Many, including message boards for numerous states during the Civil War, Civil War flags, Civil War prisons, Arms & Equipment in the Civil War, Civil War Artillery, Civil War Navies, and even a book reviews area which is my personal favorite.

Summary: This is a great set of message boards for those looking for information on an ancestor who fought in the war.  Find the state message board for the unit he fought with and ask about him.  You’d be surprised at the number of answers one can find.  In addition, the state boards are great for battles fought in each state, political and military leaders which hailed from each state and information on that state’s participation and efforts during the Civil War.  Go to the other sub-forums mentioned above for detailed discussions on those topics.  All in all, this collection of Civil War message boards offers plenty of discussion for even the most well-rounded Civil War buff.

Recent Interesting Threads:

Missouri Adjutant General Reports

Eli Barrett, 6th Regiment, NC Senior Reserves

Ruggles’ line of guns

7. Civil War Interactive Discussion Board

URL: http://www.civilwarinteractive.com/forums/

Sub-Forums: Too many too mention.  Some highlights include General Civil War Talk, Battles and Campaigns, The People of the Civil War, and Review It! (Civil War Book Reviews).

Summary: The Civil War Interactive web site contains a LOT of useful information on the Civil War, this message board among them.  Catch up on the latest Civil War news, chat about literally any Civil War-related topic, check out book reviews, discuss you favorite battle, politician, general, or other Civil War personality, try to find out more information about an ancestor and more all in one place.

Recent Interesting Threads:

Battle of Franklin

The “To Read” list

Which General would you have least liked to face?

6. Dispatch Depot Message Board at Civil War Talk

URL: http://civilwartalk.com/forums/

Sub-Forums: Civil War History – General Discussion, Civil War History – The Eastern Theater, Book & Movie Review Tent, and many more.

Summary: The Dispatch Depot Message Board at Civil War Talk is similar to the Civil War Interactive site listed above in many ways, including the light blue background theme.  This site also offers quite a few different sub-forums for discussion, and even includes a ghostly sightings area for the supernatural fans among you.

Recent Interesting Threads:

Meade’s Big Plan for Lee!!

The Folly of Confederate Invasion

Money; THE Cause?

5. North & South Magazine Civil War Yahoo Discussion Group

URL: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/cwsociety/

Sub-Forums: None.  No Yahoo Discussion Group has sub-forums.

Summary: North & South is one of the top two Civil War magazines being published today.  This Yahoo discussion group is a place for subscribers to go to discuss the articles which appear in the magazine along with any other items of Civil War interest.  This one would be listed higher if it wasn’t restricted to North & South subscribers.  Look on the bright side though.  If you are able to access this discussion group, it also means you’re subscribing to a great magazine on the topic.

Recent Interesting Threads:

-Supplement to ORs

-Foreign Officers in Blue and in Gray

-Lincoln as “Strategic Genius”

4. CompuServe/Netscape Civil War Forum

URL: http://community.compuserve.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx?nav=start&webtag=ws-civilwar

Sub-Forums: Presidents/Politics, Civil War Bookshelf, Civil War Trivia, Battles & Campaigns, Civil War Navies, Civil War Soldiers, and more.

Summary: David Woodbury, formerly co-owner of the now defunct Savas Woodbury Publishing and now a blogger at of Battlefields and Bibliophiles, heads up this site.  Supporting David are MANY knowledgeable Civil War personalities, including author Jim Morgan, former TOCWOC blogger and author Stevan Meserve, Anne Hughes, and others.  This one has more of an Eastern theater focus, but the individuals posting here know a LOT about the east!

Recent Interesting Threads:

-Butler does a good thing

-A Superior Bastard

-Tennessee tantrum

3. Civil War Discussion Group

URL: http://www.cwdgonline.org/modules.php?name=Forums

Sub-Forums: Genealogy, The Entire Gettysburg Campaign, Day One, Day Two, Day Three, Union Leaders, Confederate Leaders, Books, and more.

Summary: This is the forum for Eric Wittenberg’s Civil War Discussion Group.  It has a heavy Gettysburg and cavalry bias.  Eric’s group of personal friends has a large presence here, which is fine because there is a LOT of Civil War knowledge in this group.  Contributors include co-authors of One Continuous Fight J.D. Petruzzi and Mike Nugent, former TOCWOC blogger Jim Lamason, well-read Civil War buff Steve Basic, and many others.  The group includes a bit of self-promotion of Eric’s books and other Civil War projects such as Ironclad Publishing, but I’ve never minded it because I enjoy the topics he chooses to write about.  The Books sub-forum is a personal favorite of mine and is a large part of the reason I ranked this discussion group at #3 on the list.

Recent Interesting Threads:

-Maps book

-Footnotes in Books

-Antietam vs Gettysburg

2. The Civil War Western Theater Yahoo Discussion Group

URL: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/civilwarwest/

Sub-Forums: None.  No Yahoo Discussion Group has sub-forums.

Summary: The second best Civil War forum I’ve participated in is The Civil War Western Theater Yahoo Discussion Group.  It is run by Dick Weeks (aka Shotgun), a man who knows quite a bit about the Civil War and who runs one of the most popular Civil War sites on the web, The American Civil War Home Page.  Dick runs a tight ship as moderator, keeping the discussion focused on the Western Theater.  The intro reads:

This group discusses all aspects of the American Civil War as conducted in the Western Theater of operations.

Any action that did not involve Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia or the Peninsula Campaign is open for discussion.

Unfortunately, because of their volatility the following subjects are off limits, (1) Causes of the war, (2)Slavery, (3)Black Confederates and (4)Modern day politics.

The discussion group etiquette is as follows. (1)There will be no profanity used in any post to the group. (2) You may attack a post for its content with a rebuttal of your own, you may not attack the member that posted it.

The group has not been as active lately, but you will find most threads are responded to by knowledgeable and friendly students of the West.  I would have ranked Shotgun’s site the best if not for the reduced volume and the scope of the subject matter.

Recent Interesting Threads:

-Was Logan dissed for higher command?

-Civil War Talk Radio

-Theophilus Holmes and Hindman

1. Study of the Civil War Yahoo Discussion Group

URL: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/StudyoftheCivilWar/

Sub-Forums: None.  No Yahoo Discussion Group has sub-forums.

Summary: This is an extremely high volume group.  If you like your threads fast and furious this is the place to be.  The site averages over 1,000 posts per month typically.  In addition, it is not restricted simply to 1861-1865.  The introduction to the group is as follows:

This group covers the period from 1820 till 1880. It is for the serious student of ACW and its aftermath. Topics covering economics, culture, homefront issues, diplomatic endeavors, generals, battles, political leaders, and the reconstruction are welcome. This is the place to discuss ACW and its time period. Reenactors, Civil War buffs, and historians put out your ideas! Post views on ACW books! This group is for the exchange information, ideas, and views!!!! We want this group to also have fun within a framework of learning and congeniality. It is NOT a Forum for modern politics.

Many authors and other well-known personalities to Civil War buffs frequent this site, so you’ll be able to ask questions of the experts and receive a quick response!  Sign up to this, the best Civil War discussion group on the web and you’ll be sure to learn quite a bit and have some fun in the process.

Recent Interesting Threads:

-Defending the Western Theater

-Mac’s relocation to Harrison Landing

-Banks gets some respect

Now that you’ve read over my picks for best Civil War discussion forums, I’d love to hear yours.  Did I miss one?  Many?  Would you rank these differently?  Do you currently participate in these forums?  I’m hoping I find a few more Civil War forums to bookmark based on the comments I receive, so don’t be shy.  Tell me about the Civil War forums you visit!

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