Friday, January 20, 2012

Connecticut's Civil War: Book Review - Connecticut in the American Civil War: Slavery, Sacrifice, & Survival

   I took a second look at Connecticut in the American Civil War: Slavery, Sacrifice, & Survival today. I had read this book once, quickly, to keep up my Civil War knowledge (For those of you who don't know, I'm trained as a civil War historian). I read it again as a genealogist.
   Without going into great detail on Warshauer's sources, analytical framework, or more, I'll give you a brief overview. Connecticut in the American Civil War is divided into six sections: one for each year of the war, and one chapter each for the time before and following the conflict. These sections alternate between a discussion of the state's political issues and its experiences on the battlefield. Warshauer fits the Connecticut experience neatly into the experiences of the Union.
   For a genealogist, this book has both strengths and weaknesses. It is an easy way to discover what your ancestor's general Civil War experience might have been like. You can quickly estimate who he might have voted for or what battles he might have fought in. You cannot tell what his day to day experience might have been like. There are no battle descriptions discussing specific regiments or pictures of life on the home-front. This is a general history and makes no bones about it.


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