Huts and History
The Historical Archaeology of Military Encampment During the American Civil War
Edited by Clarence R. Geier, David G. Orr, and Matthew B. Reeves
"[N]ot only plumbs the fascinating history of encampments, it establishes new models for their study, emphasizing innovative and non-traditional methods to delve into the data sets that really give us insight into a soldier's life in the field."--Douglas D. Scott, National Park Service Midwest Archaeological Center
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 19th-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 is professor of anthropology at James Madison University. David Orr is senior regional archaeologist for the National Park Service’s Northeast region and research professor of anthropology at Temple University. Matthew Reeves is director of archaeology for the Montpelier Foundation and adjunct associate professor of anthropology at James Madison University.
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"A fine introduction to a new subfield of archaeology that we are bound to hear more about in the near future."
--The Civil War Round Table of the District of Columbia
"This long-overdue archaeological study of military encampments takes a very important step forward in understanding Civil War soldier life…Highly recommended."
"Valuable additions to the historiography of the Civil War."
--Civil War Times
"Geier, Orr, and Reeves have put together an excellent assemblage of chapters…A well-designed and tightly produced volume."
--Journal of Middle Atlantic Archaeology
"The Editors have done a good job of connecting the studies and explaining the significance to be derived from each. Military archaeologists can ask and answer questions about soldier life that either supplement what we already know from personal accounts and reports or address issues that are not easily answered in those paper sources."
--Journal of Southern History
"The editors and authors are true preservation advocates. Their enlightened awareness of the fact that hobbyists know a great deal about the location, history, and material culture associated with encampments, leads them to creative partnerships where in the past there has been much conflict and little or no mutual respect. It is important that a wide audience pay attention to this volume."
--Blue & Gray Magazine
"This book will prove interesting to a wide variety of historical and military archaeologists, preservationists, historians, and those with a general interest in eighteenth and nineteenth century conflicts."