The Civil War Veteran: A Historical Reader

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The Civil War Veteran presents a profound but often troubling story of the postwar experiences of Union and Confederate Civil War veterans. Most ex-soldiers and their neighbors readjusted smoothly. However, many arrived home with or developed serious problems; poverty, drug and alcohol addiction, and other manifestations of post traumatic stress syndrome, such as flashbacks and paranoia, plagued these veterans. Black veterans in particular suffered a particularly cruel fate: they fought with distinction and for their freedom, but postwar racism obliterated recognition of their wartime contributions.

Despite these hardships, veterans found some help from federal and state governments, through the establishment of a national pension system and soldiers' homes. Yet veterans did not passively accept this assistance—some influenced and created policy in public office, while others joined together in veterans’ organizations such as the Grand Army of the Republic to fight for their rights and to shape the collective memory of the Civil War. As the number of veterans from wars in the Middle East rapidly increases, the stories in the pages of The Civil War Veteran give us valuable perspective on the challenges of readjustment for ex-soldiers and American society.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A marvelous collection of essays, The Civil War Veteran provides an indispensable introduction to the problems the veterans faced and the contributions that they made. The bibliography alone is an invaluable resource.”
-Gaines M. Foster,author of Ghosts of the Confederacy: Defeat, the Lost Cause, and the Emergence of the New South

“Never before has such a wide-ranging and excellent collection of readings on Civil War veterans been assembled in one place. A must have book for anyone interested in this topic.”
-Donald R. Shaffer,author of After The Glory: The Struggles of Black Civil War Veterans

“The well-chosen essays in The Civil War Veteran underscore the fact that a significant number of veterans from both sides faced serious problems after they returned home. . . .This anthology is highly recommended for all readers interested in understanding the complete legacy of the war.”
-The Journal of America’s Military Past

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814752043
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 457
  • Sales rank: 1,501,206
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Larry Logue is Professor of History and Political Science at Mississippi College.

Michael Barton is professor of American studies and social science at Pennsylvania State University at Harrisburg and author of Goodmen: The Character of Civil War Soldiers. Logue and Barton are co-editors of The Civil War Soldier: A Historical Reader (NYU Press, 2002).

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     ix
Introduction     1
Transition to Peace
By Rail and Boat   Dixon Wecter     9
Confederate Demobilization   William B. Holberton     22
Did the Confederacy Change Southern Soldiers?   Michael Barton     31
Ghost Dance   Gaines M. Foster     49
Problems of Readjustment
The Civil War and the Crime Wave   Edith Abbott     65
Conventional Wisdom versus Reality   Eric H. Monkkonen     80
The Veteran Wins Through   Dixon Wecter     83
Southern Poor Boys   R. B. Rosenburg     95
Opiate Addiction as a Consequence of the Civil War   David T. Courtwright     103
Exempt from the Ordinary Rules of Life   James Marten     116
Post-Traumatic Stress   Eric T. Dean, Jr.     126
USCT Veterans in Post-Civil War North Carolina   Richard Reid     146
Governments Provide Aid
America's First Social Security System   Theda Skocpol     179
"I Do Not Suppose That Uncle Sam Looks at the Skin"   Donald R. Shaffer     200
Civil War Pensions for Native and Foreign-Born Union Army Veterans   Peter Blanck   ChenSong     221
Establishing a Federal Entitlement   Patrick J. Kelly     227
Living Monuments   R. B. Rosenburg     255
The Fate of the Civil War Veteran   Eric T. Dean, Jr.     261
Veterans Fight Their Own Battles
Veterans in Politics   Mary R. Dearing     277
What Sorts of Men Joined the Grand Army of the Republic?   Stuart C. McConnell     294
The Reality of Veterans' Voting   Larry M. Logue     310
The Confederate Celebration   Gaines M. Foster     317
A Generation of Defeat   David H. Donald     333
An Activist Minority   Larry M. Logue     343
Twice a Child   R. B. Rosenburg     347
Collective Resistance in Soldiers' Homes   Larry M. Logue     356
Veterans Shape the Collective Memory
The Patriotic Boom   Stuart C. McConnell     365
A Respect for Confederate History   Gaines M. Foster     376
Binding the Wounds of War   Carol Reardon     397
Quarrel Forgotten or a Revolution Remembered?   David W. Blight     407
Black Veterans Recall the Civil War   W. Fitzhugh Brundage      424
Suggestions for Further Reading     441
Index     453
About the Editors     457
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