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

Nature s Civil War Common Soldiers and the Environment in Virginia In the Shenandoah Valley and Peninsula Campaigns of Union and Confederate soldiers faced unfamiliar and harsh environmental conditions strange terrain tainted water swarms of flies and mosquit

  • Title: Nature's Civil War: Common Soldiers and the Environment in 1862 Virginia
  • Author: Kathryn Shively Meier
  • ISBN: 9781469610764
  • Page: 162
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 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, pluIn 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.

    One thought on “Nature's Civil War: Common Soldiers and the Environment in 1862 Virginia”

    1. Nature’s Civil War is both a medical history and an environmental history of eight months of military campaigns in Virginia. It offers the common soldiers’ perspectives on the environment and their feelings on how the natural environment is killing them. The Peninsula Campaign was fought in the midst of swamps and the Shenandoah Campaign was fought in what would appear to be a healthier environment of clear streams and rivers. The Shenandoah River Valley’s Eden is contrasted with the insal [...]

    2. Nature's Civil War shows its origin as a dissertation. Katheryn Shively Meier sometimes uses--overuses--academic jargon and was at times let down by her editor. That said, this is a must read. The author has pioneered a unique perspective on the conflict, examining the relationship between soldier views of the environment and their health. She examines two 1862 campaigns in detail, Jackson's Valley Campaign and the Peninsula Campaign. The author shows that the seasoning of soldiers was far more [...]

    3. This is a fascinating book that raises a lot of important questions. Shively Meier is clear at the outset that her book is more anecdote than statistically significant study. This honesty about its limitations makes the rest of this "ethnography of soldiers' health" all the more interesting.After a quick discussion of pre-Civil War medicine and medical knowledge, Shively Meier turns to a lengthy examination of "self care" practices employed by soldiers (Union and Confederate). She also reconcept [...]

    4. A really groundbreaking look at the way soldiers' health interacted with the environment, and the common soldier's view of health and medicine. For anyone who is interested in Civil War studies, this book opens up the field to a whole new perspective. It would be 5 stars if it wasn't a little difficult to read at times.

    5. Great look at the physical and mental hardships of the Peninsula Campaign in 1862, and the diseases, depression, and exposure that haunted it. The only thing missing is discussion of the chaplaincy and their role in bolstering the emotionally impaired troops.

    6. A perspective on the struggles of common soldiers that is not available in other nonfiction books. The focus is on medical care, or rather the self-care that helped men survive when the quartermaster and medical departments failed to provide for them.

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