The Language of the Civil War

By John D. Wright | Go to book overview

V

valerian A medicinal drug used as a nerve sedative and as an antispasmodic. A teaspoon was often put into a pint of water. Valerian was produced from the garden heliotrope plant.

Valiant Val A nickname given by his supporters to Clement L.Vallandigham, the Ohio COPPERHEAD who led the PEACE DEMOCRATS. He labeled the war unconstitutional and called for soldiers to desert on both sides. Union Major General Ambrose E.Burnside, who commanded the Department of the Ohio, ordered that Vallandigham be thrown into a military prison for two years, but President Abraham Lincoln commuted this to banishment to the Confederacy. However, Valiant Val left the South immediately for Canada, and returned to Ohio in June 1864 to help create the Peace Platform that split the Democratic Party and assured Lincoln’s reelection. Vallandigham, a lawyer, died during a court case on June 16, 1871, accidentally shooting himself while demonstrating how his client may have accidentally shot himself. See also Vallandighammer.

Vallandighammer A nickname for followers of Clement L.Vallandigham, a leading COPPERHEAD who sought peace rather than victory for the North. See also Valiant Val.

vamose or vamoose The Mexican word for “let us depart” had become American slang for leaving, especially in haste, a few years before the war and became popular during the conflict. In the summer of 1863, a Union signalman ended his WIGWAG flag communications during the siege of Port Hudson, Louisiana, with “We will vamose now. Come again tomorrow.”

vandal chief A southern nickname for Union Major General W.T.Sherman because of his army’s destruction of property in the South, especially Georgia. He acknowledged the title in a letter written during his army’s occupation of Savannah, Georgia, where he had been stationed before the war: “There are some elegant people here whom I knew in better days, who do not seem ashamed to call on ‘the vandal chief.’”

Vandyke collar A woman’s wide lace or linen collar with a border having points and indentations. It was often just called a “Vandyke.” During the war, women produced knitted and crocheted woolen versions. The name came from the collars shown in portraits by the seven-

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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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