Thursday, October 29, 2015

Booknotes: Citizen-officers

New Arrival:

Citizen-officers: The Union and Confederate Volunteer Junior Officer Corps in the American Civil War by Andrew S. Bledsoe (LSU Pr, 2015).

Bledsoe draws from a large sample (almost 2,600 men) for his study of the company grade volunteer officers of Civil War regiments. I like that he did both sides together as I am sure there are some rich areas of contrast. The book explores the ideology, development, and culture of these "citizen-officers," while also charting their capabilities and experiences from initiate to veteran. "Through an analysis of wartime writings, post-war reminiscences, company and regimental papers, census records, and demographic data, Citizen­-Officers illuminates the centrality of the volunteer officer to the Civil War and to evolving narratives of American identity and military service." Sounds fascinating.

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