The view from the ground : experiences of Civil War soldiers

Format: Print Book 2007
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 1 copy
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library Mezzanine - Non-fiction E607.V54 2007
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Mezzanine - Non-fiction
Call Number  E607.V54 2007

Civil War scholars have long used soldiers' diaries and correspondence to flesh out their studies of the conflict's great officers, regiments, and battles. However, historians have only recently begun to treat the common Civil War soldier's daily life as a worthwhile topic of discussion in its own right. The View from the Ground reveals the beliefs of ordinary men and women on topics ranging from slavery and racism to faith and identity and represents a significant development in historical scholarship--the use of Civil War soldiers' personal accounts to address larger questions about America's past. Aaron Sheehan-Dean opens The View from the Ground by surveying the landscape of research on Union and Confederate soldiers, examining not only the wealth of scholarly inquiry in the 1980s and 1990s but also the numerous questions that remain unexplored. Chandra Manning analyzes the views of white Union soldiers on slavery and their enthusiastic support for emancipation. Jason Phillips uncovers the deep antipathy of Confederate soldiers toward their Union adversaries, and Lisa Laskin explores tensions between soldiers and civilians in the Confederacy that represented a serious threat to the fledgling nation's survival. Essays by David Rolfs and Kent Dollar examine the nature of religious faith among Civil War combatants. The grim and gruesome realities of warfare--and the horror of killing one's enemy at close range--profoundly tested the spiritual convictions of the fighting men. Timothy J. Orr, Charles E. Brooks, and Kevin Levin demonstrate that Union and Confederate soldiers maintained their political beliefs both on the battlefield and in the war's aftermath. Orr details the conflict between Union soldiers and Northern antiwar activists in Pennsylvania, and Brooks examines a struggle between officers and the Fourth Texas Regiment. Levin contextualizes political struggles among Southerners in the 1880s and 1890s as a continuing battle kept alive by memories of, and identities associated with, their wartime experiences. The View from the Ground goes beyond standard histories that discuss soldiers primarily in terms of campaigns and casualties. These essays show that soldiers on both sides were authentic historical actors who willfully steered the course of the Civil War and shaped subsequent public memory of the event.

The blue and the gray in black and white : assessing the scholarship on Civil War soldiers / Aaron Sheehan-Dean
A "vexed question" : white Union soldiers on slavery and race / Chandra Manning
A brother's war : exploring Confederate perceptions of the enemy / Jason Phillips
"The army is not near so much demoralized as the country is" : soldiers in the Army of Northern Virginia and the Confederate home front / Lisa Laskin
"No nearer heaven now but rather farther off" : the religious compromises and conflicts of northern soldiers / David W. Rolfs
"Strangers in a strange land" : Christian soldiers in the early months of the Civil War / Kent T. Dollar
"A viler enemy in our rear" : Pennsylvania soldiers confront the North's antiwar movement / Timothy J. Orr
Popular sovereignty in the Confederate Army : the case of Colonel John Marshall and the Fourth Texas Infantry Regiment / Charles E. Brooks
"Is not the glory enough to give us all a share?" : an analysis of competing memories of the Battle of the Crater / Kevin M. Levin.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "The 10 essays in the third volume of the New Directions in Southern History series deal with such topics as white Union soldiers' views on slavery and race, Confederate perceptions of the enemy, religious compromises and conflicts, and Pennsylvania soldiers' reactions to the antiwar movement. Relying on thousands of diaries and letters written by soldiers and their families, as well as evidence gathered from regimental newspapers, the essays show, as Sheehan-Dean says in the introduction, that soldiers on both sides were autonomous historical actors. He indicates that these essays show the war as a subject of study, holding real promise for new and insightful research, and that by exploring the connections between the experience of the war and the larger world of nineteenth--century America, they demonstrate how rewarding that research can be. Readers would think that with all the books written on this subject, there would be nothing new to reveal, but these essays use the soldiers' personal accounts to examine their beliefs and practices, creating a most readable treatment of this horrendous conflict. --George Cohen Copyright 2006 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Additional Information
Series New directions in southern history.
Subjects United States. -- Army -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865.
Confederate States of America. -- Army -- History.
United States. -- Army -- Military life -- History -- 19th century.
Confederate States of America. -- Army -- Military life -- History.
Soldiers -- United States -- History -- 19th century.
Soldiers -- Confederate States of America -- History.
Soldiers -- United States -- Social conditions -- 19th century.
Soldiers -- Confederate States of America -- Social conditions.
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Social aspects.
Publisher Lexington, Ky. :University Press of Kentucky,2007
Contributors Sheehan-Dean, Aaron Charles.
Language English
Description vi, 266 pages ; 24 cm.
Bibliography Notes Include bibliographical references (pages 255-259) and index.
ISBN 0813124131 (hardcover : alk. paper)
9780813124131 (hardcover : alk. paper)
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