American Abolitionists and Antislavery Activists:
Conscience of the Nation

Updated April 4, 2021

l to r: Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips

l to r: Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips

Encyclopedia of Civil War Biography


Access Encyclopedia of Civil War Biography here:

A                    B                    C                    D                    E                    F               

                      Bab-Bee         Cab-Che         Dab-Dev                               Fai-Fle
                      Bel-Bon          Chi-Cle          Dib-Dye                                Flo-Fur
                      Boo-Bro         Cli-Cox
                      Bru-Byr          Cra-Cuy

G                    H                    I                     J                     K                    L

Gag-Gid         Hab-Har                                                                             Lad-Loc
Gih-Gra         Has-Hil                                                                               Log-Lyt
Gre-Gru         Hin-Hyd

M                    N                    O                    P                    Q                    R

McA-McW                                                   Pac-Pie                                 Rad-Riv
Mad-Mid                                                      Pik-Put                                  Roa-Rya

S                     T                    U                    V                    W                    XYZ

Sac-Sha          Tab-Tho                                                       Wad-Way
She-Smi         Thr-Tyn                                                        Wea-Whe
Sno-Sti                                                                                Whi-Wil 
Sto-Sza                                                                                Wim-Wyt


Presented here is an encyclopedia of American Civil War Biography. 

This Encyclopedia will give you an opportunity to read and research hundreds of entries of prominent Americans who lived during the era of the American Civil War, 1861-1865.  This Encyclopedia is a who’s who of America in the 19th Century.  All of these individuals had a major impact on US history.  

This Encyclopedia was prepared using entries principally from Appletons' Cyclopaedia of American Biography.  The Cyclopaedia was published by D. Appleton & Company of New York City between 1887 and 1889.  It was edited by James Grant Wilson and John Fiske; the managing editor from 1886-1888 was Rossiter Johnson.  It was a six-volume compilation of biographies of eminent people involved in the history, culture, politics, arts, religion, commerce, and military of the United States.  Many of these individuals were involved in various reform movements in the mid-19th Century, including abolition, women's suffrage, temperance, prison reform, child labor, etc.  A seventh volume, issued in 1901, was added which contained an updated appendix with supplementary lists of individuals.  The Cyclopaedia originally included the biographies of more than 20,000 citizens and adopted citizens of the United States.

This Encyclopedia includes verbatim entries from the Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography.  You will have the opportunity to read from the original entries from this Cyclopaedia.  The Appletons’ entries are indented.

Appletons’ was the first major compilation of biographies of Americans.  When these entries were written, many of these individuals listed were still alive and may have contributed to their entries.  A number of entries do not include the death date.

In order to improve readability, we have updated the text by replacing abbreviations with the full names of cities, states, territories, etc.  We have also replaced abbreviations from the dates.  In addition, we have added modern capitalizations that were not used in the 19thCentury, e.g., Civil War, Congress, the names of organizations, companies, etc.  Other than these updates, the text remains as it was published by Appletons.

The Appletons’ Cyclopaedia out of copyright and is in the public domain.

In addition, the editor of this website, Eric Saul, has written introductory paragraphs for some of the entries in this encyclopedia.  They contain additional biographic information not mentioned in the Appletons’ entries, as well as additional bibliographic references to these individuals.

Please see our Encyclopedia of Abolition and Anti-Slavery for biographies of abolitionists and anti-slavery activists, as well as our lists of individuals and organizations involved in abolition and anti-slavery activism.  See also

19th Century biographical compilations worth consulting are:

Barnes, William H. The Thirty-Eighth Congress of the United States: Historical and Biographical, 2 vols. (New York: George E. Perine, 1867.)

Barnes, William H. The Fortieth Congress of the United States: Historical and Biographical, 2 vols. (New York: George E. Perine, 1869.)

Drake, Francis Samuel. Dictionary of American Biography. (1872.)

Duyckinck, E. A. National Portrait Gallery of Eminent Americans, 2 vols. (New York: Johnson, Fry and Co., n.d.)

Duyckinck, E. A. History of the War for the Union, 3 vols. (New York: Johnson, Fry and Co., 1862.)

Greeley, Horace.  The American Conflict, 2 vols.  (Hartford: O. D. Case, 1864-1866.)

Herring, James, and James Barton Longacre. National Portrait Gallery of Distinguished Americans, 4 vols.  (New York: Bancroft, 1833-1836.)

Heitman, F. B. Historical Register of the United States Army from its Organization, 1789-1903, 2 vol. (Washington, 1903.)

McCullum, George W. Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U.S. Military Academy, 3 vol. (Boston and New York, 1891).

Memorandum Relative to the General Officers in the Army of the United States During the Civil War, 1861-1865. (Military Secretary’s Office.)

Moore, Frank, ed.
The Rebellion Record: A Diary of American Events, 12 vols. (New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1860s.)

The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 14 vols. (New York: James T. White, 1892.)

U.S. Army Registers, 1840-1866.

Wilson, Henry, History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, 3 vols.  (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1872.)

Wilson, James Grant, and John Fiske, eds. Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography. (New York: D. Appleton, 7 vols., 1887-1889, 1900.)  This set was republished by Gale Research Company, Detroit, 1968.

20th Century Biographical Compilations:

American Reformers: An H. W. Wilson Biographical Dictionary. (New York, 1985.)

Dictionary of American Biography, 20 vol. (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1936.)

Staudenraus, P. J. The African Colonization Movement, 1816-1865. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1961.)

The Union Army: A History of Military Affairs in the Loyal States 18671-1865 – Records of the Union Army – Cyclopedia of Battles – Memoirs of Commanders and Soldiers, 8 vols. (Madison, Wisconsin: Federal Publishing Company, 1908.)

Warner, Ezra J. Generals in Blue: Lives of the Union Commanders. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1984.)

Warner, Ezra J. Generals in Grey. (Baton Rouge, Louisiana: 1959.)

Special thanks to Amy Fiske for help in the preparation and organization of this compilation and manuscript.

Special thanks also to the staff of the West Virginia University Libraries.  Thanks to Jessica Tapia, Martin Dunlap, and Autumn Summers.