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These rare photographs show the last Civil War veterans, 1890-1950

 

1.5 million Union and perhaps 600,000 Union veterans were very visible members of post-war society. For one thing, they dominated political offices in both the North and the South. Most American presidents fought for the Union during this period, and many veterans from both sides served as governors, senators, and congressmen, while countless thousands served in state and local offices. But the importance of veterans to American society and the legacy of the Civil War outweighed their political influence.

By the 1880s, many Americans would walk past memorials to Civil War soldiers in city squares, cemeteries or other public places in the north and south. But the "old soldiers", as they were already being called, were still only in their forties or fifties and were still a part of the communities in which they lived.

They were most prominent as members of veterans' organizations and as participants in Memorial Day commemorations and Fourth of July celebrations.

Civil War veterans formed many different veterans' associations. Some consisted of all men living in the same city or county, while others were formed by the survivors of specific armies, corps, regiments, or even companies, and even then, others were formed after the war. Unique groups such as prisoners or members of the signal. Corps but two organizations dominated.

By the 1880s, 400,000 belonged to the Grand Army (GAR) of the former Yankee Republic, which was established in 1866 and reached a peak of membership twenty years later.


The United Confederate Veterans (UCV) evolved from several smaller unions in 1889 and claimed 160,000 members by 1900. The GAR and UCV were organized at the national, state and local levels, with local "posts" named after famous generals. local heroes.

Several "soldiers' newspapers" were published to support the activities of the GAR and the UCV. Papers such as the American Tribune, National Tribune, and Ohio Soldier published war memoirs, reports of soldiers' reunification, and information on pensions for GAR members, while Confederate Veterans was the official publication of the UCV for forty years.

Memorial Day parades and speeches made it easy for Americans to think of Civil War veterans as iconic old men with gray beards, elegant bearings, and bubbly memories of lost comrades.

In fact, the lives of the Sangh and the Union veterans were far more complicated. They often blended easily into families and communities, but, like any war veterans, some found it more difficult to reconcile with civilian life.

Although many Civil War veterans were very successful in business, politics, and life after the war, many believed that the war prevented them from meeting their expectations for economic success.The United Confederate Veterans (UCV) evolved from several smaller unions in 1889 and claimed 160,000 members by 1900. The GAR and UCV were organized at the national, state and local levels, with local "posts" named after famous generals. local heroes.

Several "soldiers' newspapers" were published to support the activities of the GAR and the UCV. Papers such as the American Tribune, National Tribune, and Ohio Soldier published war memoirs, reports of soldiers' reunification, and information on pensions for GAR members, while Confederate Veterans was the official publication of the UCV for forty years.

Memorial Day parades and speeches made it easy for Americans to think of Civil War veterans as iconic old men with gray beards, elegant bearings, and bubbly memories of lost comrades.

In fact, the lives of the Sangh and the Union veterans were far more complicated. They often blended easily into families and communities, but, like any war veterans, some found it more difficult to reconcile with civilian life.

Although many Civil War veterans were very successful in business, politics, and life after the war, many believed that the war prevented them from meeting their expectations for economic success.


He spent the best years of his youth in the army. Union soldiers were shunned, while those staying at home benefited from a booming economy, while Union soldiers saw family fortunes and farms crumble under pressure from invasion and the collapse of the slave economy.

Although the term "post-traumatic stress" is a modern way of describing the effects of war on certain individuals, the condition was certainly known during and after the Civil War.

The failure of a man's courage during war or when faced with supporting a hard-pressed family after war is usually attributed to a failure of will or masculinity rather than a medical condition.

But the "soldier's heart", as some called it, clearly affected countless soldiers on both sides, who ended up in state asylums for lunatics suffering from delusions, insomnia, paranoia, and other symptoms. Later it was understood. part of the nineteenth century.

About 617,000 Americans were killed during the Civil War. This number equals the total number of Americans who had died in all wars up to that point in time, including both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.

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