The soldier monuments that began to proliferate across northern and southern communities during the 1860s differed sharply from antebellum American commemorations. The emergence of this cultural form partly reflected patterns of recruitment and death in the Civil War. Local memorial initiatives also expressed competing ideas about the legacies of the war and the extent to which military service constituted a model of citizenship.
Thomas Brown is professor of history at the University of South Carolina, where his research focuses on the Civil War and Reconstruction period in American history and memory. He is the author of Civil War Canon: Sites of Confederate Memory in South Carolina (2015) and Dorothea Dix, New England Reformer (1998). He has also edited several books, including most recently Remixing the Civil War: Meditations on the Sesquicentennial (2011). As a 2015–16 Delta Delta Delta Fellow at the National Humanities Center, he is working on The Reconstruction of American Memory: Civic Monuments of the Civil War.
Listen to an interview with Thomas Brown about the topic on WUNC-TV’s The State of Things.