Confederate Phoenix: Rebel Children and Their Families in South Carolina

Overview

In this innovative book, Edmund L. Drago tells the first full story of white children and their families in the most militant Southern state, and the state where the Civil War erupted. Drawing on a rich array of sources, many of them formerly untapped, Drago shows how the War transformed the domestic world of the white South. Households were devastated by disease, death, and deprivation. Young people took up arms like adults, often with tragic results. Thousands of fathers and brothers died in battle; many ...

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Overview

In this innovative book, Edmund L. Drago tells the first full story of white children and their families in the most militant Southern state, and the state where the Civil War erupted. Drawing on a rich array of sources, many of them formerly untapped, Drago shows how the War transformed the domestic world of the white South. Households were devastated by disease, death, and deprivation. Young people took up arms like adults, often with tragic results. Thousands of fathers and brothers died in battle; many returned home with grave physical and psychological wounds. Widows and orphans often had to fend for themselves.From the first volley at Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor to the end of Reconstruction, Drago explores the extraordinary impact of war and defeat on the South Carolina home front. He covers a broad spectrum, from the effect of boy soldierson the ideals of childhood and child rearing to changes in education, marriage customs, and community as well as family life. He surveys the children's literature of the era and explores the changing dimensions of Confederate patriarchal society. By studying the implications of the War and its legacy in cultural memory, Drago unveils the conflicting perspectives of South Carolina children-white and black-today.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
. . . Fills an important gap in an area of Civil War scholarship that has yet to receive the attention it deserves, and is a must read for anyone interested in the Palmetto State's role in the Civil War.-Tom Elmore, Blue & Gray Magazine

Drago has amassed some wonderful sources and informs his scholarship with a deep knowledge of the geographic and temporal world about which he writes.-Caroline Cox, H-Childhood

Drago's exploration of the many ways that childhood and war merged will be intriguing to scholars interested in the Civil War, gender, and family.-Lorri Glover, The Journal of Southern History

"Drago's brief but insightful volume makes a fine contribution to the growing literature on children and families in wartime."-Wendy Venet, Georgia Historical Quarterly

"The combination of unique primary source material, relative brevity, and clear prose make this work quite suitable for assignment at the undergraduate level for those teaching Civil War classes."-Benjamin G. Cloyd, H-Net Reviews

"This is the first full story of white children and their families in the most militant Southern State where the Civil War erupted."-Lone Star Book Review

". . . A welcome new study."—Civil War History

"The quantity of topics and anecdotes in this volume call for historians to hear children's voices and to pay attention to their actions during the war."-Jennifer R. Green, American Historical Review

"Drago's richly detailed study of South Carolina youths and their families adds to this growing body of scholarship while reaising new questions about the war's impact on the nature of families in the Confederate South and the cultural significance of war and memory."-The Journal of American History

"[Confederate Phoenix] begins to fill a void in this neglected subject of the war in South Carolina . . ."-Richard W. Hatcher, III, The Post and Courier

"Explores the impact of war and defeat on white children in what was considered the most militant Confederate state."-The Chronicle of Higher Education

"A landmark in the grand movement that American historians are making toward including more cultural focus in their studies of race, sex, and gender."-Joel Williamson, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"Edmund Drago explores in impressive detail the experiences of the children and youth of South Carolina and their families during the Civil War. Cutting across numerous historical fields—from children's history to military history, from the history of race relations to the history of Civil War memory—he shows the war's jarring effects on family relationships, coming of age rituals, the childrearing assumptions of hard-pressed parents, and the educational and vocational choices left to children in the ravaged South. Like the best histories of children and youth, Confederate Phoenix transcends the Confederate battlefield and homefront by following the child participants in South Carolina's greatest crisis into their adult lives."-James Marten, Marquette University

"Confederate Phoenix delivers significant new insights into the impact of the Civil War upon the people, both black and white, of the American South. The personal narratives that abound in this thoroughly researched work complement the statistical data presented and make it accessible to the general reader. Drago paints a troubling portrait of the anguish of war in a conflict that was, by the standards of the 21st century, remarkably genteel."-Melton McLaurin, Professor Emeritus of History, UNC Wilmington

"CONFEDERATE PHOENIX provides a realistic, unvarnished, and dramatic view of the South Carolina experience during the Civil War. Written in clear, supple prose, this book contains exceptionally rich material on childhood and the War's impact on all civilians. It is a must-read for all historians of the family and the War in the South."-Joan Cashin, The Ohio State University

"Drago should be applauded for bringing children from near invisibility into plain view and for recognizing the importance of their experiences in understanding the long-term effects of the war in South Carolina." -Ray Hiner, Professor Emeritus, University of Kansas

"A richly researched study of the war's impact on children in the heart of the Confederacy." -Steven Mintz, University of Houston, author of Huck's Raft: A History of American Childhood

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823229383
  • Publisher: Fordham University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2010
  • Series: Reconstructing America Series
  • Edition description: 3
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

EDMUND L. DRAGO is Professor of History at the College of Charleston. His most recent book is Charleston's Avery Center: From Education to Preserving the African American Experience.

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Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations

Introduction Les Enfants de la Guerre 1

1 Children as a Factor in War Strategy 5

2 Boy Soldiers and Their Families 14

3 Childrearing 30

4 "Spilt Milk": Three Family Cameos 42

5 Education and Nation Building 50

6 "Something for the Girls": Marriage Customs and Girlhood 65

7 "Going Up the Spout": Converging Defeat on the Battlefield and Home Front 75

8 Baptism by Fire 92

9 Widows and Orphans 102

10 Reconstruction and Redemption: The Civil War, Part II 108

11 The Last Phoenix: Conflicting Legacies, 1890-2007 123

App. A Methodology 137

App. B Conscription 140

Notes 143

Bibliography 171

Index 191

Illustrations following page 74

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