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  • Editor's Note

Welcome to the second volume year of The Journal of the Civil War Era. We lead off with an experimental forum designed to stimulate conversations over the future of Civil War era scholarship. By taking advantage of the journal's website, this issue offers readers the opportunity to engage in a dialogue with authors and editors concerning trends in the field.

Organizer Stephen Berry of the University of Georgia and seven other historians have offered their thoughts on where work on various topics either might be heading or should be heading. The areas examined include nationalism, military history, slavery and capitalism, race, northern and southern home fronts, environment, and a list of top ten predictions. Running in this issue are brief distillations of the longer pieces that appear on our website. The idea is to lead readers to the URL:, not only to see a fuller analysis but also to talk with the authors.

Comment boxes appear at the end of each article. As readers leave their comments or questions, an editor will screen the material and forward it to the appropriate author. We ask that commenters have reasonable expectations about authors' response times. Overall, we hope this exercise will help spark the kind of self-reflection that can benefit the discipline by creating new ideas for research.

We also have the usual slate of three research articles. Leading off is Jacqueline G. Campbell with a reassessment of the "Woman Order" by Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler in occupied New Orleans. She argues that the outcry over this order was far less than subsequent outrage when federal authorities required women to take an oath of loyalty, placing gender at the heart of military and political issues. Next, David C. Williard highlights the battles over loyalty in the transition to civil authority in North Carolina. In examining the executions of five unionists by Confederate authorities late in the war, he finds that the local courts in early Reconstruction treated the two periods as discrete entities, with complaints by unionists falling into a void between a failing Confederate system and a Union one that valued reconciliation more than retribution. Finally, Matthew C. Hulbert uncovers a different strand in the Lost Cause—one that focused not on the chivalry of Virginians but on the guerrilla activity that plagued Missouri. He traces this phenomenon through the publishing activity of John Newman Edwards, who also had an underlying political mission in the postwar world. Taken as a whole, the articles reflect the recent interest in placing [End Page 1] gender, violence, and guerrilla elements more in the center of understanding the Civil War era.

We end the issue with a creative way to bring into the classroom fresh ideas about the New Departure and woman's suffrage. Kathi Kern and Linda Levstik present in "Notes on the Profession" a teaching exercise that shifts the emphasis from the divisions within women's groups to the actions by hundreds of African American and white women who tested the constitutionality of their disfranchisement by trying to cast ballots during elections. The classroom exercises Kern and Levstik suggest have been field tested in their work with public school teachers, as part of a Teaching American History Grant. The coauthors bring new insights into more than teaching: they offer an updated view of the historiography of this movement. Consequently, we hope you find this segment valuable on multiple levels. [End Page 2]



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