War destroys, but it also inspires, stimulates, and creates. It is, in this way, a muse, and a powerful one at that. The Civil War was a particularly prolific muse--unleashing with its violent realities a torrent of language, from soldiers' intimate letters and diaries to everyday newspaper accounts, great speeches, and enduring literary works. Cushman considers the Civil War writings of five of the most significant and best known narrators of the conflict: Abraham Lincoln, Walt Whitman, William Tecumseh Sherman, Ambrose Bierce, and Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. Considering their writings both as literary expressions and as efforts to record the rigors of the war, Cushman analyzes their narratives and the aesthetics underlying them to offer a richer understanding of how Civil War writing chronicled the events of the conflict as they unfolded and then served to frame the memory of the war afterward.