“Going Home” by Julian Scott

Going Home by Julian ScottBrian Jordan referenced Julian Scott’s “Going Home” (1887) in a previous post so I decided to look it up since I am only vaguely familiar with the artist. Scott served in the 3rd Vermont Infantry at the tender age of 15 and was awarded the Medal of Honor in February 1865 for rescuing wounded Union soldiers at Lee’s Mill, Virginia.

It’s a powerful painting and perfect to kick off 2015 and the final year of the sesquicentennial. Click here for other Civil War paintings by Scott. Having read Brian’s book I can see why he has taken a fancy to it.

3 comments

That’s a Wrap on 2014

Like many of you I have a lot to be thankful for this past year, including good health and a loving family. As always, thank you for taking the time from your busy day to visit Civil War Memory. Although the real anniversary is not til November, I am thinking of the entirety of 2015 as representing a decade of blogging. Hard to believe. To mark the occasion I will soon be unveiling a custom re-design that is currently in the works. I hired one of my favorite web designers to overhaul the site and so far it looks amazing. [click to continue…]

A Few Thoughts About Brian Matthew Jordan’s Marching Home

It is difficult to deny the influence that the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have had on recent scholarship about Civil War veterans and the broader genre of studies that now fall under the heading, “dark history.” In the preface to his new book, Marching Home: Union Veterans and Their Unending Civil War, Brian Matthew Jordan makes this connection explicit:

But even today, as soldiers return home from new and more  complex wars farther away and more difficult to imagine, we still have trouble seeing the pathos of American veteranhood. More than 26,000 veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan dwell in homeless shelters; thousands suffering from posttraumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries have yielded to drugs and alcohol; divorce and suicide rates among recent veterans have reached record highs; and bureaucratic delays have kept some veterans waiting impatiently for promised benefits. These veterans, too, are fighting an unending war. And like their forebear in blue, they will ensure that debates over the meaning of war will be long, difficult, and complex.

Indeed, this short list of postwar maladies and challenges frames Jordan’s beautifully written and accessible book. [I started reading last night and finished late today.] [click to continue…]

18 comments

New to the Civil War Memory Library, 12/29

Marching HomeI decided this year to discontinue my “Best of…” lists. Simply put, I read a lot of really good Civil War history and I am finding it difficult to single out specific books. Here are some late arrivals to my library in 2014.

Don H. Doyle, The Cause of All Nations: An International History of the American Civil War, (Basic, 2014).

Brian Matthew Jordan, Marching Home: Union Veterans and Their Unending Civil War, (Liveright, 2015).

Brian McGinty, Lincoln’s Greatest Case: The River, the Bridge, and the Making of America, (Liveright, 2015).

Barton Myers, Rebels against the Confederacy: North Carolina’s Unionists, (Cambridge University Press, 2014).

1 comment

“History Walks On All Of Us”

But history walks on all of us, lashed by time, and sometimes we feel its boot on our backs, and sometimes we are oblivious to its passing, the swing of sorrow and triumph through humanity, sorrow, and then, finally, crippling grief fading to obscurity, which is perhaps why Americans want little to do with history, why perhaps they hate it, why prayer comes easier than remembrance, which is how history knots its endless endings and measures the rise and fall of its breadth. And when history swirls around you and passes on and you inhale its aftermath, the bitterness of its ashes and the bygone sweetness of time, and excrete history into memory, you never quite believe you had once heard its thunderous God-like whispering, that you had trembled in the face of its terrible intimacies, and you fell silent. — Bob Shacochis, The Woman Who Lost Her Soul

2 comments