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Living Casualties of War: Civil War Solders as Victims of Psychological Trauma

Katherine Fleming

Abstract


Although the Civil War has been frequently written about, the emotional hardships endured by soldiers and the psychological trauma that those hardships produced did not appear in Civil War historiography until the late 1990s. For more than a century it was presumed that soldiers were impervious to mental illness and that doctors had no understanding of battlefield psychology as it exists today and could not interpret the experience of Civil War veterans until the identification of PTSD. Now that the soldier’s emotional battlefield experiences are becoming a part of the historiography. Scholars have rediscovered contemporary documents that refer to “nerve injury,” that is now being interpreted as a form of PTSD. Fleming reveals documents of New Jersey institution that treated this disease after the Civil War.

 


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