Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Midlist Writer blog, where he talks about writing, adventure travel, caving, and everything else he gets up to. He also reproduces all the posts from Civil War Horror, so drop on by!

Friday, April 27, 2012

X is for ex Civil War Soldiers who couldn't stop fighting

Yeah, this is a bit of a stretch for "X", but looking at some of the other participants in the A to Z Challenge it appears I'm not alone in this.

Anyway, as we all know, veterans can have some issues. This isn't a new thing, and in the nineteenth century psychology hadn't been developed and nobody knew the term "Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder". Plenty of Civil War veterans had it, though.

Considering that such a high percentage of the American male population had seen some wartime service, and many of them had seen some incredibly bloody battles, it's no surprise that American history for the rest of the nineteenth century was seriously affected by wartime experience.

Take, for example, the rise in organized bands of outlaws right after the war. The James gang. The Younger gang. There were dozens if not hundreds of them. The majority of their members were former Confederate bushwhackers, those who had seen and committed the worst that war has to offer. It was hard for these folks to put the war behind them. Harder still, considering the laws that were put into place in some states that kept former Confederates from being fully integrated into society.

Then there were all those feuds in the Wild West. When you look at many of them, like the Baldknobbers or the Arizona War, you find that the bulk of the people on one side were former Union soldiers and the bulk on the other were Confederate soldiers. Violence begets violence, and civil wars are the most violent of all since the same nationality is both winner and loser, hero and villain.


  1. That same theme was explored in the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, early Clint Eastwood movie. If a man only knows how to use a gun, and has no ties, no family, no money, principles don't count for much.

    Dropping by via the A to Z. Civil wars are always sad. The losing side feels displaced.

  2. I love that some of them went as far away as Egypt.


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