The Language of the Civil War

By John D. Wright | Go to book overview

T

T The letter branded on soldiers guilty of theft, usually on their foreheads, cheeks, or hands. Indelible ink was commonly used, but major thefts could call for hot irons. See also C; D; W.

tableau vivant A popular entertainment in which a scene, often a historical event or a famous painting, is represented by real people wearing costumes and frozen in silent poses. It was a popular diversion for society women.

tactical articulation Immediately before a battle, the quick and accurate movement of troops into their correct positions in a battleline. Officers had to learn and use a series of commands to make this operation go as smoothly as possible. Tad President Lincoln’s nickname for his favorite son, Thomas, because Lincoln thought he looked like a tadpole when he was born. He was the youngest of the Lincolns’ four sons, born on April 4, 1853. He was named Thomas for Lincoln’s father. The boy, who had a cleft palate and lisp, did not learn to read until the age of nine. In 1864, the president took him on a visit to General Ulysses S.Grant and his army at City Point, Virginia. Lincoln often worried about Tad and once telegraphed his wife, when she and his son were visiting Philadelphia in 1863, to ask her to put Tad’s pistol away because “I had an ugly dream about him.” Several days after Lincoln’s assassination, Tad told a servant: “I am not a president’s son now. I won’t have many presents anymore.” Tad died in 1871, probably of tuberculosis.

tailor fashionSee Turk-fashion.

take an image To have your photograph taken; e.g., “Do take an image before leaving for the regiment.”

take a shine to The slang expression, still used today, means to take a liking to or to begin to like someone or something.

take off A euphemism for dying. One Confederate wrote that the battle-worn soldier “becomes utterly fearless and holds his ‘taking off in indifference, if not in disdain.”

take the cake An informal expression meaning to win the top prize in something, such as a poetry competition or oratory contest. The modern usage, meaning to be audacious, amazing, or unusual, did not exist during the war.

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The Language of the Civil War
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Guide to Related Topics xv
  • A 1
  • B 19
  • C 50
  • D 81
  • E 100
  • F 107
  • G 122
  • H 138
  • I 154
  • J 161
  • K 166
  • L 172
  • M 184
  • N 202
  • O 208
  • P 221
  • Q 242
  • R 245
  • S 259
  • T 293
  • U 308
  • V 314
  • W 318
  • Y 329
  • Z 332
  • Bibliography 335
  • Index 337
  • About the Author 378
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