Book ID: CBB001421767

Nature's Civil War: Common Soldiers and the Environment in 1862 Virginia (2013)


Meier, Kathryn Shively (Author)

University of North Carolina Press

Publication Date: 2013
Physical Details: xiii + 219 pp.; ill.; maps; bibl.; index
Language: English

In the Shenandoah Valley and Peninsula Campaigns of 1862, Union and Confederate soldiers faced unfamiliar and harsh environmental conditions--strange terrain, tainted water, swarms of flies and mosquitoes, interminable rain and snow storms, and oppressive heat--which contributed to escalating disease and diminished morale. Using soldiers' letters, diaries, and memoirs, plus a wealth of additional personal accounts, medical sources, newspapers, and government documents, Kathryn Shively Meier reveals how these soldiers strove to maintain their physical and mental health by combating their deadliest enemy--nature. Meier explores how soldiers forged informal networks of health care based on prewar civilian experience and adopted a universal set of self-care habits, including boiling water, altering camp terrain, eradicating insects, supplementing their diets with fruits and vegetables, constructing protective shelters, and most controversially, straggling. In order to improve their health, soldiers periodically had to adjust their ideas of manliness, class values, and race to the circumstances at hand. While self-care often proved superior to relying upon the inchoate military medical infrastructure, commanders chastised soldiers for testing army discipline, ultimately redrawing the boundaries of informal health care.

Reviewed By

Review J. R. Mcneill (2015) Review of "Nature's Civil War: Common Soldiers and the Environment in 1862 Virginia". Journal of Southern History (pp. 201-202). unapi

Review Sutter, Paul S. (2015) Review of "Nature's Civil War: Common Soldiers and the Environment in 1862 Virginia". Environmental History (pp. 334-335). unapi

Review Ouchley, Kelby (2014) Review of "Nature's Civil War: Common Soldiers and the Environment in 1862 Virginia". The Journal of the Civil War Era (pp. 603-605). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Roper, John Herbert
Hasegawa, Guy R.
Schmidt, James M.
Apperson, John Samuel
Clayman, Jason
Gretz, Peter
Medizin, Gesellschaft, und Geschichte
Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography
Journal of Military History
The Journal of the Civil War Era
Public Interest Report
Museum History Journal
Mercer University Press
Stackpole Books
State University of New York Press
Edinborough Press
University of Georgia Press
University of Massachusetts Press
Medicine and the military; medicine in war
Disease and diseases
Hospitals and clinics
Science and war; science and the military
Olmsted. Frederick Law
Wilder, Burt Green
Whitman, Walt
Kinn, Gustav A.
Bönninghausen, Clemens Maria Franz von
LeRoy Wiley Gresham
United States
Virginia (U.S.)
North Carolina (U.S.)
Massachusetts (U.S.)
19th century
20th century, early
20th century
Great Britain. Royal Air Force

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