The War Was You and Me: Civilians in the American Civil War

TitleThe War Was You and Me: Civilians in the American Civil War
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsCashin, Joan E.
Number of Pages416
PublisherPrinceton University Press
CityPrinceton, NJ

Though civilians constituted the majority of the nation's population and were intimately involved with almost every aspect of the war, we know little about the civilian experience of the Civil War. Southerners lived through the breakup of basic social and economic institutions, including slavery. Northerners witnessed the reorganization of society to fight the war. And citizens of the border regions grappled with elemental questions of loyalty that reached into the family itself. These original essays recover the stories of civilians from Natchez to New England. They address the experiences of men, women, and children of whites, slaves, and free blacks and of civilians from numerous classes. Not least of these stories are the on-the-ground experiences of slaves seeking emancipation and the actions of white Northerners who resisted the draft. Many of the authors present brand new material, such as the war's effect on the sounds of daily life and on reading culture. Others examine the war's premiere events, including the battle of Gettysburg and the Lincoln assassination, from fresh perspectives. Several consider the passionate debate that broke out over how to remember the war, a debate that has persisted into our own time.

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