edited by Kent Gramm
contributions by Eric T. Dean, Bruce A. Evans, Paul Fussell, Kent Gramm, Scott Hartwig and Alan T. Nolan
University of Alabama Press, 2008
Paper: 978-0-8173-6160-0 | Cloth: 978-0-8173-1622-8
Library of Congress Classification E607.B38 2008
Dewey Decimal Classification 973.7

A collection of essays that reveals the reality of war behind the pageantry of the American Civil War

“In our youth, our hearts were touched with fire,” wrote Oliver Wendell Holmes of his generation’s Civil War days. Through the ages, war stories have gleamed with romantic glory, and American memories of the cataclysmic Civil War inspire pageantry and poetry even today.

The essays in Battle form a corrective to such celebratory histories by examining the lethal realities of Civil War combat—Enlightenment science applied to the creation of weapons that maimed and killed, which far outpaced advances in diet, sanitation, and medical treatment. The book reveals that behind the drums and trumpets, sashes and swords, the armies of the Union and Confederacy alike were haunted by fear, pain, and death.

The collection includes an introduction and afterword by editor Kent Gramm, who also contributes an essay titled “Numbers” that reveals the war in statistics. Paul Fussell contributes a powerful essay titled “The Culture of War.” D. Scott Hartwig examines the face of battle at Gettysburg. Bruce A. Evans discusses medical technology in “Wounds, Death, and Medical Care in the Civil War.” Eric T. Dean challenges the meanings and consequences of combat in “The Awful Shock and Rage of Battle.” The collection is rounded out by Alan T. Nolan’s masterful review of the national consequences of battle and the resultant myth of the Confederacy’s Lost Cause.