Cover

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Title Page, Dedication, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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p. v

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Preface

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pp. vi-viii

The incessant cannonade at the Battle of Gettysburg in early July 1863 shook the earth at Henry Spangler’s farm off Emmitsburg Road near the Confederate line. The deaf owner hid in the cellar for three days as the bloody battle raged. Spangler’s barn was burned down, and his woods became the staging area for General George E. Pickett’s blinding...

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Acknowledgments

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p. ix

A few weeks after the attack on the World Trade Center buildings in September 2001, I was scheduled to present a workshop for American Sign Language interpreters at Longwood College (now Longwood University) in Farmville, Virginia, on the south side of the Appomattox River. The coordinator of the workshop was serving in the National Guard, and she...

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Introduction

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pp. x-xii

The participation of deaf people in the Civil War has been examined by neither historians nor educators. Deaf men, women, and children across the country made concerted efforts to follow their passions in the face of this national crisis. Putting aside their own personal experiences with discrimination and prejudice, deaf soldiers fought in the shadows...

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Terms and Abbreviations

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p. xiii

For the reader unfamiliar with deafness and deaf people in historical writing, it should be explained that the archaic terms “deaf and dumb” and “deaf mute” are used in this book in their original contexts and should be avoided in contemporary communication.
Many of the characters in this book were identified in the...

Timeline of Major Events in the Civil War

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pp. xiv-xv

Part One. The Antebellum Period

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1. Life in the Shadows

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pp. 17-43

Much has been written about the hearing minister Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet’s work during the Second Great Awakening, which linked social reform to Protestant Evangelicalism. The religious revivalists believed that society could be reformed only through moral change. As a licensed minister and a prominent member of this social movement, Gallaudet...

Part Two. The Civil War Begins

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2. The Nation’s Destiny

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pp. 45-63

On January 9, 1861, the unarmed merchant ship Star of the West arrived in Charleston Harbor with troops and supplies to reinforce Fort Sumter. South Carolina had seceded from the Union a few weeks earlier, and U.S. Major-General Robert Anderson had moved his troops from Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter, thinking that it could be more easily defended...

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3. Shoulder Arms!

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pp. 64-77

There is irony in the sentiment expressed in the war song “Shoulder Arms” by C. G. Dunn, a hearing man. The “deaf and dumb” were hardly standing idle and useless as the nation was torn apart by civil war. But this was a prevailing attitude about deaf people. The “appealing drum” beat in every town, and for some deaf men who learned of the...

Part Three. Fighting with the Pen

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4. Writers and Poets Take Sides

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pp. 79-98

Near the west-end window of the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress, through which one can view the Capitol, there is a tablet inscribed with the words of the British writer Edward Bulwer-Lytton: “BENEATH THE RULE OF MEN ENTIRELY GREAT, THE PEN IS MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD...

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5. Opposing Spirits: Laura Reddenand Susan Archer Talley

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pp. 99-123

The deaf Virginia poet and spy Susan Archer Talley and the Missouri poet and Civil War correspondent Laura Catherine Redden (“Howard Glyndon”) were political opposites—every action of the passionate Southerner appeared to be in defiance of the Union that Redden worked so ambitiously to support through her pen. It is uncertain...

Part Four. Civilians on the Edge

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6. Schools in Turmoil

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pp. 125-151

The attack on Fort Sumter and the subsequent secession of the Southern states from the Union caused dramatic reverberations throughout the Southern and border-state schools for deaf children. Soon, many schools would face financial hardship. Schools in the North were affected as well, although relatively few battles were fought above the...

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7. Living Precariously

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pp. 152-167

Inter arma enim silent leges, a Latin phrase popularly interpreted during the Civil War as “In times of war, the law falls silent,” has roots that may be traced as far back as the Roman philosopher Cicero, who made this statement in a published oration. As conflicts arose in many states, President Abraham Lincoln was forced to declare martial law. Delivery...

Part Five. Fighting with the Sword

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8. Soldier Stories: The Federals

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pp. 169-179

Civil War soldiers with pre-enlistment deafness came to the medical examinations from two broad backgrounds. Those from the deaf community communicated in sign language with other deaf people. They primarily used writing to communicate with hearing comrades and other individuals with whom they interacted. Hiding their deafness to pass...

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9. Soldier Stories: The Confederates

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pp. 180-190

Among the Rebels attacking Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, was the Fire-Eater Edmund Ruffin, who was pursuing his personal dream of an independent Southern nation. Ruffin was certainly one man who did not fight “in the shadows.” His reputation as a Fire-Eater was well known. His deafness is less known. Although only partially deaf, the agricultural...

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10. Deafness Among the Commanders

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pp. 191-208

There is an anecdote told about Abraham Lincoln discussing potential officers for the Union as he and his advisors planned for the war, during which the name Alexander von Schimmelpfennig came up. The story illuminates Lincoln’s attitude regarding the qualities he was seeking for leadership in the army. The February Revolution in France in 1848...

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11. A Different Drum Beat

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pp. 209-221

A moving letter written on May 10, 1864, by Private James Robert Montgomery of the Confederate Signal Corps was made even more poignant in the 2012 Ric Burns documentary Death and the Civil War. “This is my last letter to you,” James wrote to his father. “I went in to battle this evening as Courier for General Heth. I have been struck by a piece of...

Part Six. The Postbellum Years

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12. Out of the Shadows

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pp. 223-241

In Evan Jones Walker’s reminiscences of his experiences as a young boy during the Civil War, he mentioned a deaf man named Freshour who was killed by Union soldiers in a small town in Arkansas. Mr. Freshour did not hear the command to stop and was shot. The other men from the town had gone to war, and it was left to the women to somberly...

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Conclusion

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pp. 242-244

A century after the Civil War, the deaf community began to experience a series of breakthroughs that have significantly changed the quality of life for deaf people. In 1964 President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act. That same year, three deaf men held a public demonstration of a special visual telephone. Known as the TTY, or Teletypewriter...

Notes

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pp. 245-262

Illustration credits and sources

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pp. 263-265

Index

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pp. 266-271