Civil War Institute
The American Civil War ended with Union victory on April 9, 1865, in the front parlor of the McLean House in Appomattox, Virginia. Robert E. Lee’s surrender to Ulysses S. Grant ensured the southern states would return to the Union and begin the process of Reconstruction. Union soldiers, flushed with victory, reveled in the knowledge that their cause triumphed, that their masculinity and honor was upheld while the southern men were forced to reconcile with their failure as soldiers and men. This victorious sentiment and love toward the Union Army has transcended the celebratory jubilees in which northern soldiers engaged in the years after the war, emerging through the words of historians into the late twentieth century. For generations, historians focused on the broader wartime actions and achievements of generals and politicians compared to the soldiers who did the actual fighting. This changed, however, in the mid-twentieth century. [excerpt]
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Kirk, Brianna E., "What Makes a Man?: A Historiography on the Common Soldier and Masculinity" (2014). The Gettysburg Compiler: On the Front Lines of History. 56.