Here is a sampling of fiction set during the Civil War. The list is subdivided by reading level. Please remember that these grade levels are only approximations and are not intended to limit the reader. Unless otherwise noted, books are arranged on the shelves by the author’s last name in the sections below.
A = Title available on audiobook
P= Title available on Playaway
J FICTION (Grades 2-3)
Diary of a Drummer Boy by Marlene Targ Brill
The fictionalized diary of a 12-year-old boy who joins the Union Army as a drummer and ends up fighting in the Civil War. 48 pgs.
The Code of the Drum by L.L. Owens
After his father dies, Jacob runs away from home to join his father’s old regiment as a drummer boy. 54 pgs.
Billy and the Rebel by Deborah Hopkinson (JR Hopkinson)
Billy and his mother hide a Rebel deserter on their farm near Gettysburg. When his mother is away tending wounded soldiers, the deserter helps Billy. 44 pgs.
Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco
Say Curtis describes his meeting with Pinkus Aylee, a black soldier, during the Civil War and their capture by Southern troops. Unpaged.
A Ballad of the Civil War by Mary Stolz A
Weary of the war, a Union lieutenant recalls his life with his twin brother on their family’s Virginia plantation and the events that led them to fight on different sides in the Civil War. 54 pgs.
J FICTION (Grades 3-6)
The Ghost Cadet by Elaine Marie Alphin
Twelve-year-old Benjy, in Virginia visiting his grandmother, meets the ghost of a Virginia Military Institute cadet who was killed in the Battle of the New Market in 1864 and helps to recover a family heirloom. 182 pgs.
Jayhawker by Patricia Beatty
In the early years of the Civil War, teenage Kansan farm boy Lije Tulley becomes a Jayhawker, an abolitionist raider freeing slaves from the neighboring state of Missouri, and then goes undercover there as a spy. 215 pgs. (Look for more titles by this author.)
Bull Run by Paul Fleischman A
Northerners, Southerners, generals, couriers, dreaming boys and worried sisters describe the glory, the horror, the thrill, and the disillusionment of the first battle of the Civil War. 104 pgs.
Thunder at Gettysburg by Patricia Lee Gauch
Fourteen-year-old Tillie becomes involved in the tragic battle of July 1-3, 1863. 46 pgs.
Watcher in the Piney Woods by Elizabeth McDavid Jones (History Mysteriesseries) J HIS
While helping to keep their family farm going near the end of the war, Cassie meets a Confederate deserter and a Yankee prisoner of war and tries to discover who has been stealing from the farm. 144 pgs.
Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt A P
Young Jethro Creighton grows from a boy to a man when he is left to take care of the family in Illinois during the difficult years of the Civil War. 212 pgs.
The Root Cellar by Janet Louise Swoboda Lunn
Twelve-year-old orphan Rose, sent to live with unknown relatives in Canada, ventures into her aunt’s root cellar and finds herself making friends with Susan and Will, who lived on the farm in the 1860’s. When Will goes off to fight in the Civil War and fails to return, it’s up to Rose to reach across time to find him and bring him back. 229 pgs.
My Brother’s Keeper: Virginia’s Diary by Mary Pope Osborne (My Americaseries) J MY
In 1863, as the Civil War approaches her quiet town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Virginia records in a journal the horrible things she witnesses before, during, and after the Battle of Gettysburg. 109 pgs.
A Dangerous Promise by Joan Lowery Nixon
After being taken in by Captain Taylor and his wife in Kansas, twelve-year-old Mike Kelly and his friend Todd Blakely join the Union army as musicians and see the horrors of war firsthand in Missouri. 148 pgs.
Joseph: 1861- A Rumble of War by Bonnie Pryor
After seeing how inhumanely slaves are treated in his Kentucky hometown, Joseph decides to join the Abolitionist cause. 170 pgs. (Look for other titles in the American Adventures series.)
Across the Lines by Carolyn Reeder
Edward, the son of a white plantation owner, and his black house servant Simon witness the siege of Petersburg during the Civil War. 220 pgs.
Shades of Gray by Carolyn Reeder A
At the end of the Civil War, twelve-year-old Will, having lost all his immediate family, reluctantly leaves his city home to live in the Virginia countryside with his aunt and the uncle he considers a “traitor” because he refused to take part in the war. 152 pgs.
Red Cap by G. Clifton Wisler
A young Yankee drummer displays great courage when he’s captured and sent to Andersonville
Prison. 160 pgs. (Look for other titles by this author.)
JH FICTION (Grades 6-8)
The Dreams of Mairhe Mehan by Jennifer Armstrong
Mairhe, who lives in an Irish slum in Washington, D.C. in the 1860’s, struggles to come to grips with the impact of the Civil War on her family. 119 pgs.
The Tamarack Tree by Patricia Clapp
An eighteen-year-old English girl finds her loyalties divided and all her resources tested as she and her friends experience the terrible physical and emotional hardships of the 47 day siege of Vicksburg in the spring of 1863. 214 pgs.
With Every Drop of Blood by James L. Collier
While trying to transport food to Richmond, Virginia, during the Civil War, 14-year-old Johnny is captured by a black Union soldier. 235 pgs.
When Will This Cruel War Be Over? by Barry Denenberg (Dear America series) JH DEA
The diary of a fictional 14-year-old girl living in Virginia, in which she describes the hardships endured by her family and friends during one year of the Civil War. 156 pgs.
The Journal of James Edmond Pease by Jim Murphy
(Dear America. My Name is America series) JH DEA
James, a 16-year-old orphan, keeps a journal of his experiences and those of “G” company which he joined as a volunteer in the Union army. 173 pgs.
An Island Far From Home by John Donahue
The 12-year-old son of a Union army doctor killed during the fighting in Fredericksburg comes to understand the meaning of war and the fine line between friends and enemies when he begins to correspond with a Confederate prisoner. 179 pgs.
Jesse Bowman by Tom McGowen
Seventeen-year-old Jesse leaves Chicago to join the Union Army and soon discovers the hardships and tedium of a soldier’s life. 160 pgs.
Anna Sunday by Sally M. Keehn
Anna disguises herself as a boy and travels with her younger brother from Pennsylvania to Virginia to find her wounded father. 266 pgs.
Rifles for Watie by Harold Keith A
Sixteen-year-old Jeff, already a combat veteran in the Union Army, is captured by the rebel troops of General Stand Watie, a Cherokee Indian, and is forced to become one of his scouts. 332 pgs.
Dear Ellen Bee: A Civil War Scrapbook of Two Union Spies by Mary Lyons
Based on the life of Elizabeth Van Lew, this book pieces together the scrapbooks of two women to reveal the story of Ellen Bee, the code name of a Union spy in the heart of a confederate camp. 161 pgs.
How I Found the Strong by Margaret McMullen
Frank is too young to join his father and brother in the Confederate Army, so he stays at home in Mississippi. Soon the war comes to him and forces him to grow up quickly. 136 pgs.
The Last Silk Dress by Ann Rinaldi
During the Civil War, Susan finds a way to help the Confederate Army and uncovers a series of mysterious family secrets. 331 pgs. (Look for other titles by this author.)