The Journal of the Civil War Era

The Journal of the Civil War Era publishes the most creative new work on the many issues raised by the sectional crisis, war, Reconstruction, and memory of the country’s signal conflict, while bringing fresh understanding to the struggles that defined the period, and by extension, the course of American history in the nineteenth century.

Articles from Vol. 7, No. 3, September

Editor's Note
The essays in this volume should inspire us to reconsider how we measure the changes wrought by the Civil War. Two pieces highlight how the postwar South remained littered with traps that ensnared freedpeople and poor whites in poverty and dependency....
Freedom, Economic Autonomy, and Ecological Change in the Cotton South, 1865-1880
Within the vast scholarship on post-Civil War southern agriculture, there is a common narrative. The region emerged from the conflict defeated, physically scarred, and economically handicapped. Its 4 million slaves were free but faced significant obstacles...
"If Heart Speaks Not to Heart": Condolence Letters and Confederate Widows' Grief
On May 6, 1863, Leila Habersham strolled through her wealthy family's well-tended garden in Savannah, Georgia, chatting with a friend. A shout from the nearby house shattered the calm. Running home, Leila discovered terrible news--her husband was dead....
Pensions and Protest Former Slaves and the Reconstructed American State
A chilling wind tore through central Georgia in the winter of1865. Huddled in tents near Atlanta was the 138th U.S. Colored Troops, organized nearby just months before. One of the last black regiments formed in the Civil War, it drew its numbers from...
Rethinking the Confederate Home Front
This essay began with a conceptual problem I encountered while writing a book about the escape of several thousand Union prisoners of war from the Carolinas during the fall of 1864 and the new insights those escapes revealed about the collapse of the...
The Catholic Press, the Bible, and Protestant Responsibility for the Civil War
In his April 3, 1865, diary entry, George Templeton Strong recorded the transcendent exultation he witnessed in New York City when news arrived that Richmond had fallen to Union forces. Strong, a prominent lawyer, founder of the U.S. Sanitary Commission,...
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