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  • Editor's Overview

Our final issue of 2021 explores the obligations and roles of husbands and fathers in the midst of the Civil War as well as an exploration on aeronautics. The American Civil War presented an emotional dilemma for fathers and husbands. Tapped to volunteer their service to the state, these men remained the breadwinners and heads of household. As John Patrick Riley argues in his contribution to this issue, family men employed numerous tactics in their efforts to maintain the complex interpersonal relationships with their wives and children, and to fulfill their responsibilities as providers, caregivers, companionate spouses, and devoted fathers. Married soldiers came to rely heavily on their correspondence with their wives and children both as safety valves for raw emotions and for glimmers of normalcy that ideally awaited them on their return. Their own letters bear out that these men were intimately involved in their families daily care and support. They were husbands and fathers before they were soldiers.

In the vast array of Civil War scholarship, we know very little about Thaddeus Lowe and other aeronauts who sought to use their service to the Union army to legitimize their work. As Richard Deverell notes, while balloons were a seventyeight-year-old technology at the outbreak of the war, they and their operators represented a civilian incursion into the military. Aeronauts were primarily self-trained, and prior to the war, their work existed in the same arena as carnival attractions. The military, led by generals accustomed to standardized methods of combat and unable to fully incorporate the aeronauts' nebulous positions into their chain of command, never fully embraced the technology, despite its usage, demonstrating the conflict between the military and the precursors to professional scientists.

Reviews in this edition of Civil War History cover a host of topics from environmental history, to gun rights, to memory, to nineteenth-century literature. In these, readers will note the scope, scale, and dynamic nature of Civil War scholarship and the ways scholars are continually testing the limits of our field.

The final issue of 2021 also marks the final issue overseen by the editorial team of Brian Craig Miller, Frank Towers, and Ryan Keating. It has been an extraordinary privilege to oversee the evolution of Civil War scholarship over the last seven years. As we reflect on our editorial term, we notice an uptick in explorations on political history (especially when reexamining the decade of the 1850s), environmental explorations (especially regarding the impact of weather and disease on military campaigns), new approaches to understanding the common solider, literature and its effect on the memory of the war, as well as explorations that enhance our [End Page 253] understanding of how the Civil War affected the rest of the global stage. We also valued the opportunity to oversee special issues on the presentation of the Civil War at our public history sites; new explorations of incarceration during the war; conservatism in the Civil War North; and material culture, including veterans homes, clothing, and the caning of Charles Sumner. Our state-of-the-field series explored a wide range of topics, including guerilla warfare, new revisionism of the secession crisis, Lincoln and his biographers, how Indian Territory has been explored in Civil War scholarship, Civil War revisionism, political change and continuity, the internet, slavery and capitalism, and studying the Civil War overseas. We are grateful to the deep dedication of the previous editorial team, expertly led by Lesley J. Gordon, and wish the next team, under Jim Downs's stewardship, as pleasant an experience as we have enjoyed.

We could not have done this work on our own. We are eternally grateful to the following individuals who supported us in our work of advancing the scholarly work of the Civil War era: Thomas Army, Aaron Astor, Thomas Balcerski, L. Diane Barnes, Michael Bernath, Ian Binnington, William Blair, Glenn Brasher, John Brooke, James Broomall, Steven Boyd, Peter Carmichael, Christopher Childers, John Coski, Beau Cleland, Catherine Clinton, Sarah Handley Cousins, Dan Crofts, Adam Dean, Prachi Deshpande, Jim Downs, Kristen Epps, Michael Flannery, Andre Fleche, Lorien Foote, Leigh Fought, Lisa Tendrich Frank, Matt Gallman, Barbara Gannon, Sarah Gardner, Ronald Goodwin, Michael Gray, Mark Grimsley...


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pp. 253-254
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