The Journal of the Civil War Era Publishes a Special Issue on Civil War Veterans
The March 2019 issue of The Journal of the Civil War Era is now available—it is a special issue focusing on Civil War veterans. It can be accessed via Project Muse (http://muse.jhu.edu/journal/516) and is also a membership benefit for those in the Society of Civil War Historians. Below you will find the abstracts of each article.
Caroline E. Janney - "Free to Go Where We Liked: The Army of Northern Virginia After Appomattox"
Relatively few works on the Army of Northern Virginia have looked closely at what happened to the army after the surrender on April 9, 1865. A closer examination of the immediate post-surrender period, however, suggests that many of Robert E. Lee’s men did not experience surrender as a definitive conclusion to their experience as Confederate soldiers. Because of the generous surrender terms, they dispersed from Appomattox more like soldiers than vanquished rebels. But their journeys also revealed the degree to which a substantial portion of Confederate civilians continued to support them even in defeat and highlighted the ways in which Confederates might continue to fight the results of emancipation. The disbanding of Lee’s army thus foreshadowed much of what would play out in the years to come as Confederate soldiers-turned-veterans continued to resist changes to the southern social and political order.
Sarah E. Gardner - “When Service is Not Enough: Charity’s Purpose in the Immediate Aftermath of the Civil War”
This essay argues that antebellum notions of charity persisted during the Civil War and its immediate aftermath. Sympathy, rather than an obligation owed those who had served their nation in good stead, remained the criterion on which relief workers judged petitioners. To make the case, the essay considers how the largest wartime private relief agency, the United States Sanitary Commission, provided aid to soldiers who made the wartime transition to veteran status due to injury or illness and those veterans who were mustered out of service in 1865-1866. Equally important, it surveys intellectual and cultural currents that informed the war generation’s understanding of charity. Sympathy, it demonstrates, demanded affinity, a shared sense of feeling, an appeal to the heart rather than to reason, but it did not demand inclusivity.
Susannah J. Ural - “‘Every Comfort, Freedom, and Liberty’: A Case Study of the Mississippi Confederate Home”
This case study of Mississippi’s Confederate veteran home, popularly known as Beauvoir, challenges historians to see these southern facilities as more than relics of the Lost Cause. This state-run home had a diverse resident population that included women as early as 1904 and that also included three African-American residents. It provided well-trained physicians in the Beauvoir hospital, and a powerful and popular woman superintendent ran the home as early as 1926. This article analyzes the lives of the veterans, wives, and widows of Mississippi’s Confederate home as well as the state’s policies for them, revealing a facility connected to the Civil War, but grounded in New South efficiency, regulation, and reform.
Kurt Hackemer - “Union Veteran Migration Patterns to the Frontier: The Case of Dakota Territory”
Recent scholarship argues that newly minted veterans of the American Civil War found reintegration into civilian life difficult, and that their wartime experiences led many to migrate away from their antebellum communities, often to the frontier. However, closer examination of almost 6,000 veterans who settled in Dakota Territory reveals that they had been mobile their entire lives rather than only after the war, that they had been pushing westward before the war even faster than veterans in general, and that their westward momentum continued at a faster pace after the war. In addition, their wartime experience included longer service and more exposure to combat trauma than most Union soldiers. This sizable group was distinctly different from the larger body of veterans that the current scholarship has over-generalized, highlighting the need for more regional studies.
Ian Isherwood - “When the Hurlyburly’s Done / When the Battle’s Lost and Won: Service, Suffering, and Survival of Civil War and Great War Veterans”
This essay examines recent historiographies of the Civil War and First World War, highlighting the benefits of recent emphases on cultural history and interdisciplinary scholarship in both fields. The essay argues that the comparison of these respective historiographies breaks down the “chronological and geographical barriers” that separate them, allowing a broader and fuller understanding of the unique lives and experiences of veterans in modern history.