The Local History Department now has two new books: African American Faces of the Civil War: An Album by Ronald S. Coddington and Marrow of Tragedy: The Health Crisis of the American Civil War by Margaret Humphreys! Both books will allow researchers greater insight and context into the American Civil War. See below for more details:
A renowned collector of Civil War photographs and a prodigious researcher, Ronald S. Coddington combines compelling archival images with biographical stories that reveal the human side of the war. This third volume in his series on the Civil War soldiers contains previously unpublished photographs of African American Civil War participants–many of whom fought to secure their freedom.
During the Civil War, 200,000 African American men enlisted in the Union army or navy. Some of them were free men and some escaped from slavery; others were released by sympathetic owners to serve the war effort. African American Faces of the Civil War tells the story of the Civil War through the images of men of color who served in roles that ranged from servants and laborers to enlisted men and junior officers.
Coddingotn discovers these portraits–cartes de visite, ambrotypes, and tintypes–in museums, archives, and private collections. He has pieced together each individual’s life and fate based upon personal documents, military records, and pension files. These stories tell of ordinary men who became fighters, of the prejudice they faced, and of the challenges they endured. African American Faces of the Civil War makes an important contribution to a comparatively understudied aspect of the war and provides a fascinating look into the lives that helped shape America.
The Civil War was the greatest health disaster the United States has ever experienced, killing more than a million Americans and leaving many others invalid or grieving. Poorly prepared to care for wounded and sick soldiers as the war began, Union and Confederate governments scrambled to provide doctoring and nursing, supplies, and shelter for those felled by warfare or disease.
During the war soldiers suffered from measles, dysentery, and pneumonia and needed both preventive and curative food and medicine. Family members–especially women–and governments mounted organized support efforts, while army doctors learned to standardize medical thought and practice. Resources in the North helped return soldiers to battle, while Confederate soldiers suffered hunger and other privations and healed more slowly, when they healed at all.
In telling the stories of soldiers, families, physicians, nurses, and administrators, historian Margaret Humphreys concludes that medical science was not as limited at the beginning of the war as has been portrayed. Medicine and public health clearly advanced during the war–and continued to do so after military hostilities ceased.