I have been a wee bit under the weather the past few days with a minor but pesky fever. Yesterday was the worst of it but there was still one bright spot in the day: when I checked the mailbox I discovered that my copy of The Civil War: The Third Year Told by Those Lived It had arrived. In what has become an annual rite during the sesquicentennial the Library of America has been issuing an annual installment for each year since 2011. Each edition contain approximately 175-200 primary sources for the corresponding year. Included are well known but nonetheless necessary documents such as the South Carolina Declaration of the Causes of Secession (Vol 1), the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation (Vol 2), and Robert E. Lee’s offer to resign a few weeks after Gettysburg (Vol 3). What I love about the volumes, however, are the lesser gems like Henry Adams’s letters to his brother Charles, Herman Melville’s poem about the Battle of Shiloh, and Lee’s letter to his wife about rationing shortages in the Confederate Army during the winter of 1863. Each volume provides a flow for the events of that year, which is something I find helpful when reading about the war. It is important to remember the obvious, but easy to forget fact, that the people of the past lived their lives forward with no idea of what the future held. The Civil War did not follow a script. It is for this reason that I find it so easy to get caught up in each volume. Needless to say, I know what I will be doing for at least part of my weekend.