The Blue, the Gray, and the Green: Toward an Environmental History of the Civil War

The Blue, the Gray, and the Green: Toward an Environmental History of the Civil War


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The Blue, the Gray, and the Green is one of only a handful of books to apply an environmental history approach to the Civil War. This book explores how nature—disease, climate, flora and fauna, and other factors—affected the war and also how the war shaped Americans’ perceptions, understanding, and use of nature. The contributors use a wide range of approaches that serve as a valuable template for future environmental histories of the conflict.

In his introduction, Brian Allen Drake describes the sparse body of environmental history literature related to the Civil War and lays out a blueprint for the theoretical basis of each essay. Kenneth W. Noe emphasizes climate and its effects on agricultural output and the battlefield; Timothy Silver explores the role of disease among troops and animals; Megan Kate Nelson examines aridity and Union defeat in 1861 New Mexico; Kathryn Shively Meier investigates soldiers’ responses to disease in the Peninsula Campaign; Aaron Sachs, John C. Inscoe, and Lisa M. Brady examine philosophical and ideological perspectives on nature before, during, and after the war; Drew Swanson discusses the war’s role in production and landscape change in piedmont tobacco country; Mart A. Stewart muses on the importance of environmental knowledge and experience for soldiers, civilians, and slaves; Timothy Johnson elucidates the ecological underpinnings of debt peonage during Reconstruction; finally, Paul S. Sutter speculates on the future of Civil War environmental studies.

The Blue, the Gray, and the Green provides a provocative environmental commentary that enriches our understanding of the Civil War.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780820347158
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
Publication date: 01/15/2015
Series: UnCivil Wars Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 264
Product dimensions: 8.80(w) x 6.00(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

BRIAN ALLEN DRAKE is a lecturer of history at the University of Georgia.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction. New Fields of Battle: Nature, Environmental History, and the Civil War Brian Allen Drake 1

1 Fateful Lightning: The Significance of Weather and Climate to Civil War History Kenneth W. Noe 16

2 "The Difficulties and Seductions of the Desert": Landscapes of War in 1861 New Mexico Megan Kate Nelson 34

3 Yancey County Goes to War: A Case Study of People and Nature on Home Front and Battlefield, 1861-1865 Timothy Silver 52

4 "The Man Who Has Nothing to Lose": Environmental Impacts on Civil War Straggling in 1862 Virginia Kathryn Shively Meier 67

5 Stumps in the Wilderness Aaron Sachs 96

6 "The Strength of the Hills": Representations of Appalachian Wilderness as Civil War Refuge John C. Inscoe 113

7 Nature as Friction: Integrating Clausewitz into Environmental Histories of the Civil War Lisa M. Brady 144

8 War Is Hell, So Have a Chew: The Persistence of Agro environmental Ideas in the Civil War Piedmont Drew A. Swanson 163

9 Reconstructing the Soil: Emancipation and the Roots of Chemical-Dependent Agriculture in America Timothy Johnson 191

10 Walking, Running, and Marching into an Environmental History of the Civil War Mart A. Stewart 209

Epilogue: "Waving the Muddy Shirt" Paul S. Sutter 225

Contributors 237

Index 241

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