Tag: Union soldiers

Poetry Not Yet Written: Revisiting Glory Thirty Years Later

Poetry Not Yet Written: Revisiting Glory Thirty Years Later

Glory begins as so many Civil War films do: the sun rises on a vast battlefield, brave Union men march into war, and a ferocious battle ensues, American and Confederate flags billowing in the background. Despite its adherence to well-worn tropes, however, Glory tells a tale that is often obscured ...
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"I Donte Want to Fight": One Union Soldier’s Struggle with Duty

“I Donte Want to Fight”: One Union Soldier’s Struggle with Duty

James Madison Jones wanted nothing more than to be out of the U.S. Army. The young father had enlisted in the 12th New Hampshire Infantry in August 1862, but once he donned the blue uniform and left his family behind, Jones regretted his decision. He tried–and failed–to renege on his ...
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Teaching the American Civil War Through the Experiences of Civil War Veterans

Teaching the American Civil War Through the Experiences of Civil War Veterans

Studying the experiences of Civil War veterans and their families helps students understand the complex forces that shaped late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century America. Their life stories help instructors explain soldiers’ motivations for service, discuss battles and campaigns, describe conscription and dissent, unravel the process of emancipation, and examine the political and ...
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The Grave and the Gay: The Civil War on the Gilded Age Lecture Circuit

The Grave and the Gay: The Civil War on the Gilded Age Lecture Circuit

This is our final field dispatch from correspondent James Marten. We have greatly enjoyed his contributions to Muster and it has been such a pleasure having him on our team. We will be announcing his replacement in 2019, so stay tuned! For decades before and after the Civil War, thousands ...
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Mudsills vs. Chivalry

Mudsills vs. Chivalry

Writing home from Alabama in November 1863, an Ohio cavalryman celebrated the overthrow of the Southern aristocracy: “The mud sills of the North roam at will over the plantations, burn rails, forage on the country, and the negroes flock into our camps, leaving their lordly masters helpless and dependent,” he ...
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"Better men were never better led”: October 1864 and the Crisis in the Union Armies at Petersburg

“Better men were never better led”: October 1864 and the Crisis in the Union Armies at Petersburg

In early October 1864, Gen. U. S. Grant planned a trip to Washington. He believed that 30,000 to 40,000 troops were gathered in “depots all over the North” and wanted to "see if I cannot devise means of getting [them] promptly into the field.” Although he canceled the trip, his ...
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“What soldiers are for”: Jersey Boys Wait for War

“What soldiers are for”: Jersey Boys Wait for War

A certain cohort of the baby boomer generation—boys born between the late 1940s and mid-1950s—spent their high school years wondering if they would be drawn into the Vietnam War. With older brothers, neighbors, and older friends anxiously awaiting their lottery numbers; with the nightly news and weekly news magazines providing ...
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The Life He Should Have Thrown Away: Ambrose Bierce and Soldiers’ Complicity

The Life He Should Have Thrown Away: Ambrose Bierce and Soldiers’ Complicity

In “Still Life: From the Notebooks of Ambrose Bierce, 1862,” twentieth-century poet R. T. Smith presents a sketch artist who, despite being surrounded by the sights and smells and sounds of the aftermath of the Battle of Shiloh, chooses to draw a still life of a peach. An “Illinois corporal” ...
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George and Alva Go to War: Fatherhood, Childhood, and the Civil War

George and Alva Go to War: Fatherhood, Childhood, and the Civil War

“I am with my youngest son George compelled for the love of our Beloved country to take up arms in defense of that liberty that our for Fathers fought to establish. May Heaven grant a speedy restoration of the hapy [sic] days once enjoyed & a safe return to our ...
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All Brave Men Are True Comrades: Union Veterans and Confederate Memorials

All Brave Men Are True Comrades: Union Veterans and Confederate Memorials

Today James Marten, professor of history at Marquette University, shares his first Field Dispatch. The author or editor of fifteen books, Marten was the 2010 winner of MU’s Lawrence G. Haggerty Award for Excellence in Research. Among his recent publications are America’s Corporal: James Tanner in War and Peace (Georgia, 2014) and Sing ...
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Teaching with Statistics: A Case Study

Teaching with Statistics: A Case Study

My great friend Kevin Lambert at California State University, Fullerton says, “Nothing is more humanistic than numbers.” They bring order and precision to our lives, offer definitive and powerful evidence for us, and determine outcomes and decisions on the most difficult and emotionally wrenching issues. Although the work of historians ...
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Let Us Not Forget the Living: The Complicated Lives of Union Veterans

Let Us Not Forget the Living: The Complicated Lives of Union Veterans

Ambiguity shaped the lives of Civil War veterans. Publicly honored and respected, many never managed to fit back into their old lives, or to build new ones. This is a familiar story to modern Americans, of course. Although the stereotypical troubled veteran in popular culture has tended to be a victim ...
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