Synopses & Reviews
During the Civil War, a Union colonel was five times more likely to be court-martialed than a private. Worse, courts-martial of all ranks increased by 400 percent in the winter months. Among the court-martialed transgressors presented in this volume are an officer nicknamed “Stumpy” because he tended to hide behind tree stumps during combat and a man tried for calling his superior a “miserable reptile.” The gallery of offenders also includes a Vermont colonel who became a chloroform addict and a New York colonel who rode his horse into a barroom, ordered a brandy for himself and one for his horse, then fired his pistol through the ceiling. The stories of fifty misdeeds, along with a statistical exploration of twenty-two thousand other courts-martial, provide a pioneering study of the little-known world of Civil War misbehavior and clarify the often-bewildering dynamics between volunteer soldiers and their professional superiors.
“Well-conceived and well-written, this volumes greatest value lies in its rich portrayal of how an army of civilian volunteers lived, fought, and died—real men with all the virtues and failings of real men. It is a great resource for understanding the realities of the Civil War.”—North & South North and South
“Lowry has taken the genre of the historical underside to its proper scholarly limits; he has coupled the lurid and the weird with excellent research and analysis.”—Civil War Times Civil War Times
About the Author
Thomas P. Lowry is a retired associate clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco. He is the author of several books, including The Story the Soldiers Wouldnt Tell: Sex in the Civil War and The Civil War Bawdy Houses of Washington D.C.