The American Civil War soldier, confined much of the time to his camp, suffered from boredom and sickness. Encampment was not only tedious but detrimental to his health; far more soldiers died of diseases from sharing close quarters with their comrades than from wounds on the battlefield. Until now, archaeologists have concentrated their study on the battle sites and overlooked the importance of the camps. This edited collection is the first dedicated to the archaeology of Civil War encampments. The authors contend that intensive study to interpret and preserve these sites will help to ensure their protection as well as expand our understanding of the nineteenth-century soldier's life. Whether they mobilized tens of thousands of men for training or taught maneuvers to smaller groups, encampments are significant in several ways: as "cultural landscapes" characterized by architectural features, as socially and politically organized "mobile communities," and as infrastructures created to support soldiers' needs.
The authors' techniques can be applied to camps not only of the Civil War but the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, and the Indian campaign.
Clarence Geier, professor of anthropology at James Madison University, is the author of Archaeological Perspectives on the American Civil War (UPF) and Look to the Earth: Historic Archaeology and the American Civil War. David Orr is senior regional archaeologist for the National Park Service's Northeast region and research professor of anthropology at Temple University. He has written extensively on topics in historical archaeology and contributed most recently to Archaeology and the Muses. Matthew Reeves is director of archaeology for the Montpelier Foundation and adjunct associate professor of anthropology at James Madison University. He is a contributor to Places in Mind: Archaeology as Applied Anthropology.
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