The Resurgent Wilderness in the American Civil War

Nelson, Jeremy, History - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Janney, Caroline, Department of History, University of Virginia

Civil War scholars have embraced environmental history to ask new questions about a familiar period of American history. These studies often focus on the mass consumption of natural resources by armies and the inherent destruction of martial campaigning. Yet a diverse collection of evidence indicates that the abnormal conditions of war provided an opportunity for wildlife to recover from years of economic development, especially in and near the heavily forested southern Appalachian highlands. The not-yet-extinct large predators of the region, especially wolves and panthers, benefited from this phenomenon and symbolized it for a population that longed for their total extirpation. Directing scholarly attention toward these animals and their wider ecosystems during the Civil War era reveals the continuing importance of ecological frontier imagery and experience east of the Mississippi River during this period, even though the geopolitical frontier had shifted far beyond the Cumberland Gap.

MA (Master of Arts)
"Civil War", "American Civil War", "Wilderness", "American South", "Appalachia", "Wildlife", "Wolves", "Environmental History"
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