Pat Hendrix is an educator and cultural resources consultant, researching and writing on American history for public and private clients. He writes on topics as diverse as African pottery production in Colonial Charleston, coal mining in West Virginia and rice planting in Colonial and Antebellum South Carolina. His publications include Murder and Mayhem in the Holy City and Down and Dirty: Archaeology of the South Carolina Lowcountry.
Bledsoe’s innovative evaluation of the lives and experiences of nearly 2,600 Union and Confederate company-grade junior officers from every theater of operations across four years of war reveals the intense pressures placed on these young leaders. Despite their inexperience and sometimes haphazard training in formal military maneuvers and leadership, citizen-officers frequently faced their first battles already in command of a company. These intense and costly encounters forced the independent, civic-minded volunteer soldiers to recognize the need for military hierarchy and to accept their place within it. Thus concepts of American citizenship, republican traditions in American life, and the brutality of combat shaped, and were in turn shaped by, the attitudes and actions of citizen-officers.
Through an analysis of wartime writings, post-war reminiscences, company and regimental papers, census records, and demographic data, Citizen-Officers illuminates the centrality of the volunteer officer to the Civil War and to evolving narratives of American identity and military service.