The Gentlemen and the Roughs

The Gentlemen and the Roughs

Violence, Honor, and Manhood in the Union Army

by Lorien Foote

Published by: NYU Press

252 pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in

  • Hardcover
  • ISBN: 9780814727904
  • Published: June 2010


  • Paperback
  • ISBN: 9781479897841
  • Published: June 2013


Finalist for the 2011 Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize
"A seminal work. . . . One of the best examples of new, sophisticated scholarship on the social history of Civil War soldiers."
The Journal of Southern History
“Will undoubtedly, and properly, be read as the latest word on the role of manhood in the internal dynamics of the Union army."
Journal of the Civil War Era
During the Civil War, the Union army appeared cohesive enough to withstand four years of grueling war against the Confederates and to claim victory in 1865. But fractiousness bubbled below the surface of the North’s presumably united front. Internal fissures were rife within the Union army: class divisions, regional antagonisms, ideological differences, and conflicting personalities all distracted the army from quelling the Southern rebellion.
In this highly original contribution to Civil War and gender history, Lorien Foote reveals that these internal battles were fought against the backdrop of manhood. Clashing ideals of manliness produced myriad conflicts, as when educated, refined, and wealthy officers (“gentlemen”) found themselves commanding a hard-drinking group of fighters (“roughs”)—a dynamic that often resulted in violence and even death. Based on extensive research into heretofore ignored primary sources, The Gentlemen and the Roughs uncovers holes in our understanding of the men who fought the Civil War and the society that produced them.