Union Soldiers and the Northern Home Front: Wartime Experiences, Postwar Adjustments

By Paul A. Cimbala; Randall M. Miller | Go to book overview

AFTERWORD

Joseph T. Glatthaar

NEVER BEFORE had an American event approached the magnitude of the Civil War. Well over three million men donned the uniform of the Union or the Confederacy, a total that exceeded 10 percent of the entire population in 1860. During the course of four bloody years of fighting, more than 600,000 yielded their lives, a figure that surpassed the number of servicemen in any previous American war. Four million slaves gained their freedom as a consequence of the Civil War, considerably more people than secured their independence from Great Britain as a consequence of the American Revolution.1

By comparison with America's past conflicts, the Civil War truly was a massive and complex undertaking. The realities of the war penetrated almost every household, every farm, every factory, and every workshop. In addition to uniformed service, wartime demands, both military and civilian, absorbed the labor of over ten million more people. The United States government alone spent $350 million on clothing and $370 million on subsistence for its soldiers. This did not include anything that family or friends sent to soldiers or that they took for themselves. Nearly all of those goods and foodstuffs came from the hands of northern producers. Limited peacetime capacity transformed into massive wartime output, as opposing sides manufactured an astounding 1.15 billion small arms cartridges and 5 million artillery rounds between them. Despite their comparatively primitive means, the Union and the Confederacy together produced

1 About 30 million people lived in the United States in 1860. Estimates vary dra-
matically on how many soldiers served in previous wars, but even the most expansive
do not approach 620,000, the number of fatalities of the Civil War. See "U. S. Service
and Casualties in Major Wars and Conflicts, 1775–1991," in The Oxford Companion
to American Military History
, ed. by John W. Chambers (New York: Oxford Univer-
sity Press, 2000), 849.

-483-

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Union Soldiers and the Northern Home Front: Wartime Experiences, Postwar Adjustments
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The North''s Civil War Series ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xi
  • 1- Filling the Ranks 1
  • 1- "We Are All in This War" 3
  • 2- "Volunteer While You May" 30
  • 3- "If They Would Know What I Know It Would Be Pretty Hard to Raise One Company in York" 69
  • 2- Northerners and Their Men in Arms 117
  • 4- "Tell Me What the Sensations Are" 119
  • 5- "Listen Ladies One and All" 143
  • 6- Soldiering on the Home Front 182
  • 7- Saving Jack 219
  • 8- In the Lord''s Army 263
  • 9- Carrying the Home Front to War 293
  • 3- From War to Peace 325
  • 10- "Surely They Remember Me" 327
  • 11- "Honorable Scars" 361
  • 12- The Impact of the Civil War on Nineteenth-Century Marriages 395
  • 13- A Different Civil War 417
  • 14- "I Would Rather Shake Hands with the Blackest Nigger in the Land" 442
  • 15- "For Every Man Who Wore the Blue" 463
  • Afterword 483
  • Contributors 489
  • Index 493
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