Attended another local lecture by Adam Goodheart on his book 1861 tonight. Different topics from his previous lecture back this spring. Apparently he was in the oval office during the signing by Pres. Obama making Fortress Monroe a national monument. He was there based on a portion of his book dealing with Fortress Monroe. I highly recommend reading his book 1861. Though decidedly northern in slant, it's still well researched and written.
I would also recommend to read "The Civil War Awakening". I like the combination and connections between the White House and the most distant places of the USA (like Alcatraz). I know there should be also a book 1865, but I haven't seen it yet. Still I would definitely read it, as the scenes in the first one are colorful and the research is truly profound. This book can be helpful for the essays on History as well as this site.