Among the writing projects that I need to complete over the course of the next 12 months is a 7,500 word historiographical survey of military affairs in Virginia in 1861. The essay will be included in A Companion to the U.S. Civil War edited by Aaron Sheehan-Dean and published by Wiley-Blackwell. The completed book, which will be published in two volumes and encompass roughly sixty chapters, will provide scholars with a comprehensive survey of the historical literature on the Civil War. The goal of the Companion series is to summarize the historiography of a given field, the essays for the U.S. Civil War volume will focus on how historians have developed and modified their interpretations of the topic over time.
While I am familiar with a fairly large chunk of the literature related to the actual battles and campaigns I do have to think about how broadly to cast my interpretive net. In other words, what should a historiography of military affairs in Virginia in 1861 include? And here is where you come in. I would love for you to share your suggestions for the following:
- Important campaign/battle studies going back at least 50 years
- Biographies of both military and political leaders
- Military command structure
- Home front studies
- Slavery (contraband, First Confiscation Act
What other categories should be included in such an essay and why? For those of you familiar with the literature I would love to hear what you think are some of the most important analytical shifts that have taken place within this literature. What are some of the questions that you would like answered surrounding this body of scholarship? Thanks for your help.