A Conversation for The US Civil War: From Barracks to Front

My father's great-uncles told him stories of the Civil War

Post 1

paulh, making lemonade from the lemons that life has given me

My father was born in 1920. As a small child, he attended family reunions. Probably these veterans weren't going to tell a small child that war was hell.


My father's great-uncles told him stories of the Civil War

Post 2

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Freshly Vaccinated

They might not, at that. Although my relatives tended to be frank. My said his great-grandmother, I think it was, told him about Civil War experiences she had as a child. They weren't pleasant experiences. Of course, civilians always look at it differently.


My father's great-uncles told him stories of the Civil War

Post 3

paulh, making lemonade from the lemons that life has given me

Was "Cold Mountain" at all accurate?


My father's great-uncles told him stories of the Civil War

Post 4

Caiman raptor elk - Escaping the Array


In general, memoirs were only written for Generals and such. The ones that tended to survive and rule.

I have no relatives called Frank, and my grandparents never told me much about the World Wars they lived through. (I know they hid a Jewish family) Being farmers, they probably did quite well, food-wise.


My father's great-uncles told him stories of the Civil War

Post 5

paulh, making lemonade from the lemons that life has given me

My father served in World War II (which historians now tend to think of as an extension of what we called World War I, with a 20-year hiatus in the middle), but the war ended before he could be deployed overseas. He was in the Army Air Force, and was a meteorologist. His brother was in the U.S. Navy. Neither one told us about their war experiences. The little that I did hear came from my mother, who wangled a way to accompany my father from base to base -- including Myrtle beach and some base in Oklahoma. She was a marvel of organization and making a little go a long way. She said that my father's hearing in his left ear was so terrible that my father's unit worried about his losing the little hearing he had when he went on the mandatory trip up in an airplane.

I had no relatives in the First World Wat.


My father's great-uncles told him stories of the Civil War

Post 6

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Freshly Vaccinated

Sounds to me like your dad shouldn't have been going up in an airplane at all! I hope they enjoyed Myrtle Beach. My dad was in the infantry in the Rhineland in 1945. His eardrum was burst by a shell at Hamm. After V-E Day, they were training for Japan, so a friendly general had him retrained as a cook. They thought cooks might have a better survival rate. Then the atomic bombs were dropped and he got to go home.

Yes, 'Cold Mountain' is remarkably accurate. The Civil War in the Appalachians was a true civil war, guerrillas and all. Champ Ferguson was active in the area where my folks lived. (Look him up and shudder.)

The old folks' memories included things like the 'Yankees' - meaning the yahoos from the next county - stealing their last horse, stuff like that. It was about like Greece after World War II.

Wait until next month - I've got a chapter about the Civil War refugees in there. Go watch the movie 'State of Jones', too, about a Mississippi county that seceded from the Confederacy.


My father's great-uncles told him stories of the Civil War

Post 7

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Freshly Vaccinated

Caiman: the fella who taught me Dutch at the university was Flemish. His earliest memories were of Allied planes flying over the yard. He said the last year of the war was rough in Belgium.

My dad had memories of Liege in wartime - they used it for a rear staging area and sent them back from the front for R&R. He remembered seeing a movie there about 'Lili Marleen'. I think it stuck in his mind because - could you imagine fighting house-to-house in the stench and the noise, and then coming back for 48 hours to rest before going back in that? Psychologically it must have been something.

I agree - the history books don't tell the story. That's why I'm always hunting archives for the personal stories.


Key: Complain about this post

More Conversations for The US Civil War: From Barracks to Front

Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

Write an entry
Read more