Reluctant Witnesses : Children 's Voices From The Civil War Essay

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In this historical text, Reluctant Witnesses: Children’s Voices from the Civil War, Emmy Werner retells the events of the Civil War through the eyes of children who are male, female, black, and white. Werner worked to sift through the reactions and experiences of the young men and women who were involved in the Civil War. Each chapter articulates a different portion of the battle and the events during the Civil War. Chapter two, five, six, eight, and nine capture the eye-witness accounts from young soldiers and young women who lived through the Battle of Shiloh, the Battle of Gettysburg, the siege of Vicksburg, the burning of Atlanta, and Sherman’s march to the sea. Chapter three, four, seven, and ten depict the responses the young children had at Andersonville, during the bread riots, the triumph at Washington D.C., and the voices of the former slaves of the south. Werner thrived to increase the knowledge on the involvement of children within the Civil War. Werner’s historical picture was to present the realities children faced on and off the field of battle. Werner’s argument focused on children’s perspective of the Civil War. She supports her claim by providing diary, letter, and journal excerpts from one hundred and twenty children ages four to sixteen, by being focused on their subjective experiences of the hardships they endured and how they managed to cope with them drawing, where appropriate, parallels to the experiences of children in contemporary civil strife.

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