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The Common Soldier of the Civil War: His Rise and Fall

The Common Soldier of the Civil War: His Rise and Fall <p>Abstract:</p><p>This historiographical essay looks at the concept of the so-called common soldier of the Civil War, as it has evolved in the writing of scholarly and popular historians since the Second World War. It organizes the historiography into three eras, the first defined by Bell Wiley&apos;s books about "Johnny Reb" (1943) and "Billy Yank" (1952). The second era, commencing after the Vietnam war, saw challenges to Wiley&apos;s interpretation of Civil War soldiers as essentially nonideological and began to incorporate statistical analysis to supplement traditional interpretive techniques. In the twenty-first century, historians of the dark turn era have made increasing use of digital tools while continuing to examine aspects of soldiers&apos; aggregated experiences. The essay concludes that the next direction for the field may be to abandon the "common soldier" construct and to focus on the political, regional, generational, ethnic, religious, racial, and other differences among Civil War soldiers, rather than their assumed commonalities.</p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of the Civil War Era University of North Carolina Press

The Common Soldier of the Civil War: His Rise and Fall

The Journal of the Civil War Era , Volume 11 (4) – Nov 12, 2021

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright @ The University of North Carolina Press
ISSN
2159-9807

Abstract

<p>Abstract:</p><p>This historiographical essay looks at the concept of the so-called common soldier of the Civil War, as it has evolved in the writing of scholarly and popular historians since the Second World War. It organizes the historiography into three eras, the first defined by Bell Wiley&apos;s books about "Johnny Reb" (1943) and "Billy Yank" (1952). The second era, commencing after the Vietnam war, saw challenges to Wiley&apos;s interpretation of Civil War soldiers as essentially nonideological and began to incorporate statistical analysis to supplement traditional interpretive techniques. In the twenty-first century, historians of the dark turn era have made increasing use of digital tools while continuing to examine aspects of soldiers&apos; aggregated experiences. The essay concludes that the next direction for the field may be to abandon the "common soldier" construct and to focus on the political, regional, generational, ethnic, religious, racial, and other differences among Civil War soldiers, rather than their assumed commonalities.</p>

Journal

The Journal of the Civil War EraUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Nov 12, 2021

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