Based largely on Civil War veterans' own words, this book documents how many of these men survived the extraordinary horrors and hardships of war with surprising resilience and went on to become productive members of their communities in their post-war lives.
• Documents how Civil War veterans' combat experience changed them in ways that allowed them to become productive members of their communities and leaders in their sections—a largely overlooked "benefit" to the war
• Identifies overarching trends among veterans' experiences while also underscoring how varied Civil War soldiers' experiences were, depending on which side they fought for, where they fought, and their socioeconomic status
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About the Author
Paul A. Cimbala, PhD, is professor of history at Fordham University, Bronx, NY.
Table of Contents
Series Foreword ix
Chapter 1 The End of the War 1
Chapter 2 Going Home 13
Chapter 3 Facing Postwar Adjustment 23
Chapter 4 The Useful Consequences of Service 35
Chapter 5 Sons and Families 47
Chapter 6 Rebuilding and Building Families 59
Chapter 7 Making Ends Meet at Old Homes and New 71
Chapter 8 Overcoming Lost Time and Physical Disabilities 83
Chapter 9 Confederate Veterans Resurgent 95
Chapter 10 Union Veterans in the Era of Reconstruction 107
Chapter 11 Remembering a Meaningful Experience 119
Bibliographical Essay 169
What People are Saying About This
"Skillfully bringing together the growing work on Civil War veterans and making it come alive with powerful stories of individual men, Cimbala provides a broad overview of the veteran experience from the finals days of the conflict through reintegration to civilian society and the end of Reconstruction. More important, he launches a stirring counterattack against the recent trend of Civil War-era historians to focus on the brutality of war and the tragic nature of the period. While acknowledging the hardships soldiers faced and the lingering problems for some veterans, Cimbala emphatically argues that the vast majority of Civil War veterans not only readjusted to civilian life but used their wartime experiences to become vital members of their communities and help shape the future of the nation in positive ways. This provocative book is sure to spark controversy."
"This thoughtful, revealing, and deeply researched book should be read not only by everyone interested in the Civil War and its aftermath but by everyone concerned with issues involving America's war veterans, past and present."
"With Veterans North and South, Paul Cimbala can lay claim to a prominent place amidst the recent wave of revisionist scholarship on the post-war experiences of Civil War soldiers. Drawing on a vast and varied cast of characters on both sides of the conflict, Cimbala vividly chronicles the emotional and psychological challenges they facedand more often than not overcameboth in rebuilding their lives as civilians and in coming to terms with what the war meant and why it mattered. A compelling read, full of fresh insights and sophisticated analysis at every turn."
"This gracefully written, thoroughly researched study is loaded with relevance for modern veterans' issues including PTSD. Cimbala fuses rich anecdotal and statistical evidence in a narrative that is conversant with interdisciplinary scholarship, sensitive to issues of race, class, and gender, and bursting with revealing case histories. He shows that in many ways the Civil War did not end at Appomattox; that in their writings, associations, politics, and paramilitary activities veterans played the instrumental role in keeping it alive. In the end, Cimbala reminds us how important the institution of slavery and the subordination of African Americans were to the identities of Confederates, and how issues of citizenship and emancipation framed the self-awareness of men in blue as they sought new livelihoods during the Reconstruction years. An important contribution."