Monday, November 30, 2009

Life During the Civil War

As luck would have it, the day before Ol' Myrt received a .pdf copy of this book, her husband came home excited to show off a new book on his favorite subject!

Life During the Civil War is the latest offering from our friends at and, and author David A. Norris is one of Ol' Myrt's personal favorites.

Anxious to expand on my study of US Civil War medical practices, I turned to pages 55-61 and found a fair synopsis of how our ancestors endured injury and illness because of meager supplies, inadequate staffing and and the prevailing lack of medical knowledge incident to the time period. Just when I was wondering why there was no mention of the impact the US Sanitary Commission had on improving conditions, the very next chapter tackled the topic. The layout and ratio of photos to text is similar to the publisher's magazines -- enough to keep you interested and lead you through the text without overwhelming the need for details.

A quick review of the table of contents shows the breadth of content:
  • From Abatis to Zouaves: A Civil War Dictionary
  • Home Away From Home: Hotels of the Civil War
  • Soundtrack to a Conflict: Music of the Civil War
  • Starvation Parties and Confederate Candles?
  • Slumgullion, Salt Horse and Hell-Fired Stew
  • Relief From Reality: Civil War Humor
  • Shinplasters and Greenbacks: Money During the Civil War
  • Zouaves: New York Firemen and Louisiana Tigers
  • Man's Best Friends: Pets in the Army
  • Johnnie Reb and Billy Yank: Life in the Armies
  • Fighting for Freedom: The US Colored Troops
  • Sutler Shops: Convenience Stores for Soldiers
  • Life on Soap Suds Row: Army Laundresses
  • Taking the Cars: Rail Travel During the Civil War
  • What the Doctor Ordered: Hospitals and Medicine
  • Common Civil War Remedies
  • Fundraising Fairs: The US Sanitary Commission
  • Picturing the Civil War: War Artists
  • From the Frontlines to the Homefront: Newspapers
  • Telegrams: At the Speed of Lightening
  • Worth a Thousand Words: Photography in the Civil War
  • "I Hain't Got Any Stamps": Confederate and Union Mail
  • The Civil War Navies: Cottonclads and Blockages
  • The New Naval Warfare: Life on Ironclads
  • Missed It By That Much!
Since this is a basic primer on the historical aspects of the war, there is no information on how to discover more about an ancestor rumored to have served for either the North or the South. Also missing is a bibliography of suggested reading materials either on or off the net. However the publisher explains that David is:
"the author of over 250 published magazine and encyclopedia articles. David A. Norris has written extensively for History Magazine, Family Chronicle, Internet Genealogy and Discovering Family History. Norris' articles have also been published by American Heritage,, America's Civil War, Civil War Times, American History, the North Carolina Historical Review, True West and Mental Floss. His first book, Potter's Raid: The Union Cavalry's Boldest Expedition in Eastern North Carolina was published by Dram Tree Books. In addition he has contributed articles to the Encyclopedia of the American Civil War, the Encyclopedia of North Carolina History and the upcoming Mississippi Encyclopedia."

Sounds like David knows what he's talking about, doesn't it? I'll just bet your resident US Civil War history buff would appreciate this as a holiday gift.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy.

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