Kentucky Historical Society: Second Volume of Unique Civil War Diary

The Civil War experiences of Bowling Green native Josie Underwood were like those of other young Southern women, yet also very different. Like others, Josie experienced the loss of home and friendships, strained family relationships and life in a war zone. But unlike her contemporaries, she also spent part of the war out of the country while her father served as U.S. consul to Glasgow, Scotland.

The fall issue of the Register of the Kentucky Historical Society makes available Josie’s story from 1862 with publication of “Josie Underwood’s Civil War Diary, Part 2” The University Press of Kentucky published the first volume of her diary in 2009, before family members discovered the second volume in a box of papers. Special Collections at Western Kentucky University holds the original documents.

“I think a diary like this helps us humanize people from the past,” said David Turpie, editor of the Register. “Facts and figures are important and can help us better understand the past, but it is also important to understand the thoughts and feelings of one individual, in this case someone who had an unusual journey during the Civil War years. While the war occurred, Josie continued to live her life.”

Besides giving insight into Josie’s life and the Underwood family’s experience, the diary also sheds light on the home front, an aspect of the war not as well documented as the troop movements and military strategy. The second volume starts in 1862 and continues beyond the end of the war with periodic entries through 1871.

“Most studies of war concentrate on the military and its heroes. But what about the trauma experienced by civilians left at home – especially in an area occupied by the military? Josie Underwood’s diary concentrates on the Kentucky homefront during the Civil War; most Southern states experienced similar problems,” said Nancy Disher Baird, who edited both volumes.

Kentucky Historical Society members have online access to the Register. Subscriptions for print copies are available for individuals or institutions. Membership and subscription information is available on the KHS website. Individual copies of the Underwood diary issue can be purchased for $12, plus $3 shipping, by contacting the Register staff at or 502-564-1792, ext. 4421.

For more information about this special issue of the Register, contact David Turpie at or 502-564-1792, ext. 4435.

Civil War Collectors: Great Places to Find Civil War Memorabilia

Civil War Books and Merch

A lot of Civil War Buffs are also collectors – collecting anything (books, mugs, caps, figurines, chess sets..) related to the War Between the States.

While there are plenty of online resources (See: Civil War Memorabilia on Amazon, for example), collectors can also find ways to add to their collection offline.

In certain parts of the country, State Parks (with gift shops) can often surprise you with their collections as can other historical attractions.   The Civil War merch shown here is part of a very impressive collection at The 1850’s Homeplace.

The Homeplace is part of Kentucky’s beautiful Land Between the Lakes recreation area – even though The Homeplace, itself, is located in Tennessee.  The Homeplace has Civil War mugs, caps, books, figurines, and more – basically everything a collector could hope for.

If you’re in this beautiful area, I highly recommend visiting The Homeplace.

In the meantime, be sure to check similar historical attractions in your area. They’re great resources for Civil War merchandise and memorabilia.

Civil War Caps


Civil War Merchandise


Robert E. Lee Coffee Mug

Some Wore Blue and Some Wore Gray

Some Wore Blue & Some Wore Gray (Kindle Edition)

When it comes to buying anything (books, bacon, burgers…) one word always catches my eye: FREE.

If you’re also a Civil War buff and bargain lover, here’s something pretty great. Head over to Amazon and get a free copy of Some Wore Blue & Some Wore Gray for your Kindle reader.  I love the tagline, “Sometimes the best characters aren’t fictitious.” Isn’t that the truth?!

This book is from best-selling author Heather Graham, so it’s pretty much a can’t-miss. I’ve read a few of her novels before and she’s one of the best.

Book Description:
With the 150th Anniversary of the Battle at Gettysburg and the Siege of Vicksburg, New York Times Best Selling Author, Heather Graham, is revisiting one of her favorite time periods – The American Civil War. This time, however, she has compiled biographies of some of her favorite real-life characters of the period. We hope you’ll enjoy her gift to you in SOME WORE BLUE & SOME WORE GRAY. And feel free to comment in the review section if there are people you would be interested in reading about from the Civil War. Ms. Graham sees this as a living, growing document and is certain to add to it as time goes by. Enjoy!
And then when you want to see where all this love of history took her, check out her three Bantam novels ONE WORE BLUE, ONE WORE GRAY, and AND ONE RODE WEST.