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Saber and Scroll

Abstract

Gradually, the common soldier became more prominent in the histories of the American Civil War and these soldier studies hold a future potential for original Civil War historical research. The Civil War is uniquely qualified for examination of the common soldier’s experience. As Aaron Sheehan-Dean wrote, “Historians of the Civil War face [a] problem. They have not too few sources from common people but too many.” Despite this plethora of source material, Civil War soldier studies have not come close to reaching their potential – as soldiers are too often seen as being cleanly divided between analogous groups rather than being complex individuals.

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