Book review: Marching Home »

A new book deals with a subject I’ve been musing on lately: The effects of the war on the social life of postbellum America.  Millions of men coming home – some with severe physical and emotional scars – to a world that was profoundly changed.  This one sounds like a good read. Jordan’s handling of civilian […]

A Broken Regiment »

The Smithsonian article I posted previously mentioned a new book that sounds fascinating: A Broken Regiment: The 16th Connecticut’s Civil War.  The author has researched one badly mauled regiment to gauge how its veterans did after the war. Predictably, they didn’t do too well. At war’s end, the emotional toll on returning soldiers was often compounded by physical […]

Civil War PTSD »

The Smithsonian Magazine investigates post-traumatic stress disorder amongst Civil War vets.  The condition was not understood then, and as the article states, “had a long reach”; effects were felt on individuals, families and communities long after the firing ceased. “We’ve tended to see soldiers in the 1860s as stoic and heroic—monuments to duty, honor and […]

The Smell of the Civil War »

A short article from mentions an intriguing new book.  Given the subject, I’m guessing it will be a lot like the morose yet fascinating This Republic of Suffering.  I’ve added it to my wish list. Caroline Hancock was 23 when she served as a nurse after the Battle of Gettysburg, in 1863. She found […]

Podcast #13 – “Jus in Bello” »

A tough slog at work has caused me to miss a few podcasts. With the daunting prospect of two due this week (I was hoping to post extras as the sesquicentennial anniversaries arrive) I thought I’d make a special effort to get today’s done: It’s the 150th anniversary of the Lieber Code, progenitor of the […]

A Rebel’s Recollections »

The Atlantic published an excerpt from A Rebel’s Recollections that provides an interesting, rambling take on the Upper South’s (specifically Virginia’s, in this case) reasons for entering the war.  In summary, the writer suggests they were bullied into it by the planter states, with some propaganda and misinformation thrown in for emphasis. Why, then, the […]

The Toll on the Southern Psyche »

I am afraid there will be a good many hearts pierced in this war that will have no bulletmark to show. – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., “My Hunt after ‘The Captain’” I blogged lately about the visible legacy of the war – the amputees whose physical scars were easily seen and understood. Less easy to […]

Civil War PTSD »

The psychological fallout of the war is a facet I haven’t studied enough. Drew Gilpin Faust illuminated some of this as it related to death, but the PTSD trauma cases in the post-bellum era aren’t as well documented.  This little article implies that there are scholars making inroads. I can’t wait to add some new […]

Lincoln’s Great Depression »

Apologies, readers, for the prolonged silence on this blog. In Lincoln’s words below, I have been “not very well”. A short bout of depression left me all the more amazed at how Lincoln was able to soldier on, and accomplish as much as he did: I couldn’t muster the strength to write a blog, much […]

Clara Barton’s Inner War »

Many of my favorite historical figures (Lincoln, Sherman, Meriwether Lewis among them) appear to have suffered from debilitating depression, which makes it all the more stunning that they went on to drag themselves up and change their worlds. Another of my favorite tough broads, Clara Barton, was listed amongst the black dog owners, too. “I […]