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Inglorious passages : noncombat deaths in the American Civil War

Brian Steel Wills
Books/Monographs
English
Lawrence, Kansas : University Press of Kansas, ©2017
xi, 404 pages : illustrations, portraits ; 24 cm
9780700625086 alkaline paper)
Modern War Studies

Notes

Of the hundreds of thousands of soldiers who died in the Civil War, two-thirds, by some estimates, were felled by disease; untold others were lost to accidents, murder, suicide, sunstroke, and drowning. Meanwhile thousands of civilians in both the north and south perished--in factories, while caught up in battles near their homes, and in other circumstances associated with wartime production and supply. These "inglorious passages," no less than the deaths of soldiers in combat, devastated the armies in the field and families and communities at home. Inglorious Passages for the first time gives these noncombat deaths due consideration. In letters, diaries, obituaries, and other accounts, eminent Civil War historian Brian Steel Wills finds the powerful and poignant stories of fatal accidents and encounters and collateral civilian deaths that occurred in the factories and fields of the Union and the Confederacy from 1861 to 1865. Wills retrieves these stories from obscurity and the cold calculations of statistics to reveal the grave toll these losses exacted on soldiers and civilians, families and society. In its intimate details and its broad scope, his book demonstrates that for those who served and those who supported them, noncombat fatalities were as significant as battle deaths in impressing the full force of the American Civil War on the people called upon to live through it. With the publication of Inglorious Passages, those who paid the supreme sacrifice, regardless of situation or circumstance, will at last be included in the final tabulation of the nation's bloodiest conflict.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

Introduction: "This inglorious taking off" -- The first fatalities: death in the early days of the Civil War -- The battle in camp: death in the soldier encampments -- "The rhythm of the rails": fatalities in rail transportation -- Not fooling with Mother Nature: death from natural occurrences or "acts of God" -- Slipshod soldiering: fatal mounted accidents and deaths associated with animals and mascots -- Not so friendly fire: death at the hands of compatriots, by accident, in personal confrontations, or in affairs of honor -- "As neere to heaven by sea": fatalities on the high seas and inland water courses -- Industrial and storage mishaps: death from industrial or production-related accidents -- Collateral casualties: deaths of civilians -- Not cheating the hangman: deaths at the bar of justice, for desertion, or as prisoners of war -- Conclusion: "There is no glory in it" -- Appendix: Fatal accidents to troops from Indiana, 1861-1865.

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