Children and Youth during the Civil War Era

Children and Youth during the Civil War Era



The Civil War is a much plumbed area of scholarship, so much so that at times it seems there is no further work to be done in the field. However, the experience of children and youth during that tumultuous time remains a relatively unexplored facet of the conflict. Children and Youth during the Civil War Era seeks a deeper investigation into the historical record by and giving voice and context to their struggles and victories during this critical period in American history.

Prominent historians and rising scholars explore issues important to both the Civil War era and to the history of children and youth, including the experience of orphans, drummer boys, and young soldiers on the front lines, and even the impact of the war on the games children played in this collection. Each essay places the history of children and youth in the context of the sectional conflict, while in turn shedding new light on the sectional conflict by viewing it through the lens of children and youth. A much needed, multi-faceted historical account, Children and Youth during the Civil War Era touches on some of the most important historiographical issues with which historians of children and youth and of the Civil War home front have grappled over the last few years.



Publication Date



New York University Press


New York




Table of Contents


Foreword / Steven Mintz

Introduction / James Marten

PART I. Children and the Sectional Conflict

1. "Waked Up to Feel": Defining Childhood, Debating Slavery in Antebellum America / Rebecca de Schweinitz

2. "Train Up a Child in the Way He Should Go": The Image of Idealized Childhood in the Slavery Debate, 1850-1870 / Elizabeth Kuebler-Wolf

3. "What Is a Person Worth at Such a Time": New England College Students, Sectionalism, and Secession / Kanisorn Wongsrichanalai

PART II. Children of War

4. A "Rebel to [His] Govt. and to His Parents": The Emancipation of Tommy Cave / Thomas F. Curran

5. Thrills for Children: The Youth's Companion, the Civil War, and the Commercialization of American Youth / Paul B. Ringel

6. "Good Children Die Happy": Confronting Death during the Civil War / Sean A. Scott

7. Children of the March: Confederate Girls and Sherman's Home Front Campaign / Lisa Tendrich Frank

8. Love in Battle: The Meaning of Courtships in the Civil War and Lost Cause / Victoria E. Ott

PART III. Aftermaths

9. Caught in the Crossfire: African American Children and the Ideological Battle for Education in Reconstruction Tennessee / Troy L. Kickler

10. "Free Ourselves, but Deprived of Our Children": Freedchildren and Their Labor after the Civil War / Mary Niall Mitchell

11. Reconstructing Social Obligation: White Orphan Asylums in Post-emancipation Richmond / Catherine A. Jones

12. Orphans and Indians: Pennsylvania's Soldiers' Orphan Schools and the Landscape of Postwar Childhood / Judith Geisberg

PART IV. Epilogue

13. Preparing the Next Generation for Massive Resistance: The Historical Pageantry of the Children of the Confederacy, 1955-1965 / J. Vincent Lowery

Documents: Through the Eyes of Civil War Children

Questions for Consideration

Suggested Readings

About the Contributors

Children and Youth during the Civil War Era