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American FatherhoodA History$
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Jürgen Martschukat

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781479892273

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479892273.001.0001

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Being a Father and a Soldier in the Civil War, 1861–1865

Being a Father and a Soldier in the Civil War, 1861–1865

(p.81) 5 Being a Father and a Soldier in the Civil War, 1861–1865
American Fatherhood

Jürgen Martschukat

NYU Press

The fifth chapter depicts the conflicting demands addressed to young men as family fathers on the one hand and as citizen-soldiers on the other hand. It discusses the Civil War and its effects on fathers, mothers, and family life through close readings of the diary and letters of Confederate soldier John C. West, who saw himself as fighting this war for his family and his country. While West was scared to death by the bloody battles and the fierce fighting of the Civil War, he nevertheless romanticized the war as a struggle for southern family life and patriarchal masculinity in his diary and letters. He portrayed his service in the Confederate Army as fulfilment of his masculinity in the name of white womanhood, southern culture, and family life, a message he sought to send to his wife and, in particular, to his four-year-old son back home.

Keywords:   Civil War, Confederacy, letters, memoir

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