Civil War Memory 101 (Week 8)

This discussion will take place on Twitter on May 17 at 8pm. #CWM101

We are close to the finish line. Thanks again to all of you who have taken part in this discussion over the past few weeks. I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have.

United Daughters of the Confederacy

This week we will discuss chapter 8 in Caroline Janney’s book, Remembering the Civil War: Reunion and the Limits of Reconciliation. This chapter explores the role of women in Civil War memory, specifically in connection to the Women’s Relief Corps and the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Janney demonstrates that women on both sides struggled with the balancing act between reunion and reconciliation. The chapter concludes with the UDC’s attempts to place monuments in Andersonville National Cemetery and Arlington National Cemetery.

Reading Questions

  • According to Janney, what motivated white southern men after the war to place some at the center of the Confederate cause?
  • Why did references to loyal white northern women become more infrequent by the 1880s?
  • What factors explain the divergence of experiences of northern and southern white women in commemorative activities after the war?
  • What does Janney’s analysis of the WCTU and the relationship between Varina Davis and Julia Grant tell us about the challenges of achieving reunion and reconciliation during the postwar period?
  • Who joined the UDC and WRC at the end of the nineteenth century and what shared experiences brought them together into their respective organizations?
  • According to Janney, why did white so many white northern and southern women resist/reject the pull of reconciliation?
  • To what extent were black women accepted into the WRC and how did their commitment to remember emancipation and slavery impact reconciliation?
  • How did the UDC try to reshape memory the Confederacy’s relationship to emancipation and slavery?
  • Why did the UDC fail to place a monument to Henry Wirz in Andersonville National Cemetery, but were successful a few years in Arlington National Cemetery?

Further Reading

Primary Sources

  • UDC history of the war in Fayetteville, NC
  • Photograph: United Daughters of the Confederacy (1912)
  • Photograph: Confederate memorial at Arlington National Cemetery (1914)
  • Photographs: Women’s Relief Corps in Newton, Kansas
  • Photograph: Women’s Relief Corps, Rawlins County, Kansas

About the author: Thank you for taking the time to read this post. What next? Scroll down and join the discussion in the comments section. Looking for more Civil War content? You can follow me on Twitter. Check out my forthcoming book, Searching For Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth, which is the first book-length analysis of the black Confederate myth ever published. Pre-order your copy today.

2 comments… add one
  • Beverly Cameron May 11, 2020 @ 12:54

    I know we’re not done yet, but this course has been a great experience. Thank you, Mr. Levin and Dr. Janney.

    • Kevin Levin May 11, 2020 @ 12:56

      Hi Beverly,

      Thanks so much of the positive feedback. I am really glad to hear that you are enjoying the discussions.

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