I stumbled upon the LSU Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Initiative by accident. An online search turned up a .pdf file of a master's thesis titled "Trans-Mississippi Southerners in the Union Army, 1862-1865" and it led me to the library webpage. This particular kind of free unrestricted access project for academic scholarship -- as opposed to a subscription medium like what JSTOR does for journals -- is news to me [at least the small sample I viewed was freely available]. Then again, maybe I am behind the times and many schools already do this.
[add. Link to NDLTD - Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations]