The Common Solider

Thanks to Kevin for passing the word about the up coming publication of View from the Ground. I ordered my copy today. Other then regimental histories, books that deal with the common soldiers and their experiences during the American Civil War are my favorite. To me understanding that these men were free thinking individuals caught up in the national trauma of war and that they had their own values and beliefs is important. It is within the story of the common solider that where the elements of social and military history come together. Understanding what motivated these men to go to war whether it be for political, social, economic or patriotic reasons requires some background in the social/political environment of the Civil War. By necessity to also understand how they were changed by the war elements around the military history need to be investigated.

The way I look at, the Civil War regiment served the purpose of being both a military unit and a community or home away from home for the soldiers that served in it. Serving this dual role meant that the regiment and more importantly the men brought their own social/political values that were further shaped, molded and changed by the military experiences they faced. So while the debate over the value or importance of a military history vs. social history view of the Civil War will continue to go on, for me I will keep my feet planted in both.


Kevin said…
You may just be the first customer. There has got to be some kind of discount award for that. Have a nice weekend
Andy said…
Kevin, I could use a discount. I enjoyed your article in America's Civil War and look forward to reading the larger article in the book. Alot of my study has to do with how the men of the First Maine dealt with their memories of their charge on June 18, 1864. When they dedicated they mounument at Petersburg in 1894 they made sure to include the AP Hill Post in the ceremonies.
Are you stil going to the UVA seminar in May?

Kevin said…
Unfortunately I am unable to attend. The conference couldn't be at a worse time for a high school teacher.

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