Frankfort Civil War Round Table - Enduring the Elements: Civil War Soldiers' Struggles Against the Weather

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Join Camp Nelson National Monument Park Ranger Cameron Boutin as he discusses the variety of ways that Civil War soldiers experienced the pressures of weather over the course of their military service. For the soldiers of the U.S. and Confederacy, the weather was more than simply a passive backdrop to their time in the military, but a central preoccupation. The weather intersected with some of the most central experiences of soldiering – tent camping and winter quarters, marching, bivouacking, manning sentry posts and field fortifications, and fighting in battles. These various facets of wartime service were nowhere near as exacting and challenging when they took place in mild weather, as they were in adverse conditions such as rain or heat. Rank-and-file U.S. and Confederate troops accumulated knowledge and experience as they soldiered that shaped the ways that they perceived, reacted, and adjusted to the weather. Men devised numerous methods, using any means available, to combat inclement weather and to alleviate its difficulties and hardships. Adapting to the environment turned out to be a critical element in how common soldiers became hardened veterans.

In addition to his position at Camp Nelson National Monument, Cameron Boutin will graduate from the University of Kentucky in December with his PhD in history. He has previously studied at Northeastern University and has worked various positions in the field of public history in both New England and Kentucky. Boutin has also been published in academic journals including Civil War History and the Journal of Military History.

Sponsored by the Frankfort Civil War Round Table, Capital City Museum, and PSPL.


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