The Civil War Veteran presents a profound but often troubling story of the postwar experiences of Union and Confederate Civil War veterans. Most ex-soldiers and their neighbors readjusted smoothly. However, many arrived home with or developed serious problems; poverty, drug and alcohol addiction, and other manifestations of post traumatic stress syndrome, such as flashbacks and paranoia, plagued these veterans. Black veterans in particular suffered a particularly cruel fate: they fought with distinction and for their freedom, but postwar racism obliterated recognition of their wartime contributions.
Despite these hardships, veterans found some help from federal and state governments, through the establishment of a national pension system and soldiers' homes. Yet veterans did not passively accept this assistance—some influenced and created policy in public office, while others joined together in veterans’ organizations such as the Grand Army of the Republic to fight for their rights and to shape the collective memory of the Civil War. As the number of veterans from wars in the Middle East rapidly increases, the stories in the pages of The Civil War Veteran give us valuable perspective on the challenges of readjustment for ex-soldiers and American society.
“An excellent collection of essays on a largely neglected topic. . . . The editors have done a thorough job of considering the pivotal issues, selecting broad yet focused themes, and gathering the writings that best illustrate those issues and themes.”
-Daniel Sutherland,University of Arkansas
“Together, the essays collected by Logue and Barton provide a vivid portrait of the social, political, economic, and cultural struggles of Civil War veterans.”
-The North Carolina Historical Review
“The well-chosen essays in The Civil War Veteran underscore the fact that a significant number of veterans from both sides faced serious problems after they returned home. . . .This anthology is highly recommended for all readers interested in understanding the complete legacy of the war.”
-The Journal of America’s Military Past
“Never before has such a wide-ranging and excellent collection of readings on Civil War veterans been assembled in one place. A must have book for anyone interested in this topic.”
-Donald R. Shaffer,author of After The Glory: The Struggles of Black Civil War Veterans
“A marvelous collection of essays, The Civil War Veteran provides an indispensable introduction to the problems the veterans faced and the contributions that they made. The bibliography alone is an invaluable resource.”
-Gaines M. Foster,author of Ghosts of the Confederacy: Defeat, the Lost Cause, and the Emergence of the New South