Lost Causes: Confederate Demobilization and the Making of Veteran Identity

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by Bradley R. Clampitt

This groundbreaking analysis of Confederate demobilization examines the state of mind of Confederate soldiers in the immediate aftermath of war. Having survived severe psychological as well as physical trauma, they now faced the unknown as they headed back home in defeat. Lost Causes analyzes the interlude between soldier and veteran, suggesting that defeat and demobilization actually reinforced Confederate identity as well as public memory of the war and southern resistance to African American civil rights.
Intense material shortages and images of the war’s devastation confronted the defeated soldiers-turned-veterans as they returned home to a revolutionized society. Their thoughts upon homecoming turned to immediate economic survival, a radically altered relationship with freedpeople, and life under Yankee rule—all against the backdrop of fearful uncertainty. Bradley R. Clampitt argues that the experiences of returning soldiers helped establish the ideological underpinnings of the Lost Cause and create an identity based upon shared suffering and sacrifice, a pervasive commitment to white supremacy, and an aversion to Federal rule and all things northern. As 
Lost Causes reveals, most Confederate veterans remained diehard Rebels despite demobilization and the demise of the Confederate States of America.

  • Release date: June 1, 2022
  • Hardcover
  • 422 pages