Recent scholarship argues that newly minted veterans of the American Civil War found reintegration into civilian life difficult, and that their wartime experiences led many to migrate away from their antebellum communities, often to the frontier. However, closer examination of almost 6,000 veterans who settled in Dakota Territory reveals that they had been mobile their entire lives rather than only after the war, that they had been pushing westward before the war even faster than veterans in general, and that their westward momentum continued at a faster pace after the war. In addition, their wartime experience included longer service and more exposure to combat trauma than most Union soldiers. This sizable group was distinctly different from the larger body of veterans that the current scholarship has over-generalized, highlighting the need for more regional studies.


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pp. 84-108
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