Brev. Brig. Gen'l
- Feb 14, 2012
- Central Pennsylvania
Op is slightly snarky, sorry. I do mean it, in a way- we had a way of trying awfully, awfully hard to wrap our heads around this shambles and insisting life, love and each other mattered, if we could do it. Vicksburg? Those poor people, teeth rattling as war roared over their heads.
Hard to tell if this Harper's image of the caves at Vicksburg is accurate. War artists traveled with armies, like journalists do today. It is possible this one visited these awful ' homes ' to so many, after the civilians were relieved from fear of daily death, summer, 1863.
In strong contrast but again having carved a home from war, an officer's wife creates domestic snugness in, of all things, a casemate. Unsure where, cannot track this image back.
" It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it." Said a man. Well, maybe Lee said it. No expert here but gee whiz, at 54 with a dicey heart, sleeping in tents, all heck breaking loose, heat, cold, wool suits and death all around. Dues paid like most people of the era, at 54, pie by a fire, fat spaniel dozing underfoot or some scene involving anything but ' war ' is where, male or female, we'd wish to be.
So they settled in elsewhere, fascinatingly building transitory nests. Perhaps for a night, maybe a winter- canvas or cloth or wood or someone else's wood hastily vacated, we humans found homes. More fascinatingly, so determinedly do we follow our hearts, home, we'll follow each other to war and literally set up camp.
A favorite, you cannot convince me this is not winter camp construction, with a cabin replacing someone's tent, for his wife.
I cannot find numbers, merely an occasional order commanding wives to leave camp on some date or worse, some article announcing the death of a wife or child while living there. I'm not merely referring to the armies, however- ' Home ', for our ancestors, meant many, many things, to a lot of citizens. We'd call them refugees, living in the woods and squatters, in abandoned homes.
There was a pointed title to this, from Harpers- have neglected to provide it since civilian refugees in the South and western wars were just, plain, living in caves, if found, or the woods, if allowed. Seems a heart tugging scene but it happened. Home, for awhile.
Armies grew long, long tails of displaced civilians, ex-enslaved by the hundreds among them. That was home, too.
There are other photos of ' contraband ' camps- meaning ex-enslaved who managed to get away but had a long road ahead, building life. Can't say ' again ' because there had been none, no chance to contribute to themselves or family. So, a tent. For home. Used this to illustrate how small, canvas walls, a fireplace- a home inside war at Harpers Ferry.
Frank Leslie's image of a shelter in Atlanta, families making life as normal as they could during shelling.
Lookout Point, we know from the plethora of photos on the famous rocks children and women were there. Here are familes, ' home ' in the seminary building along with muscicians and you just know, a hospital.
Not a family but had to include these absurdly young soldiers- drummers or bugler maybe, and home to officers in winter camp.
Nothing else is needed by way of words. Home to this family. An officer, it is a better photo than the young family in the famous photo from the PA regiment, a mother, father, 3 children and dog but it's all war, all home. Until it was not war anymore and everyone left standing got to go home.
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