Looking into the currency of the Civil War
Apr 12, 2011 10:35 am
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="William Morgan Davies and Louisa Maria Dickerman, Violet Snow’s great great grandparents, on their wedding day... Before he joined the Civil War as a Union private. Image from Woodstock Times."][/caption]Violet Snow, journalist and tracking specialist, has started off on a journey to trace her own connections to the Civil War. This past week, the Woodstock Times ran a piece in which she writes about her discovery of a bare bones journal by her great-great-grandfather. William Morgan Davies, of the 95th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, was an immigrant Welshman whose troubled times as a foot soldier in General Ulysses S. Grant's armies in Tennessee, and later as a prisoner of war at infamous Andersonville Prison, eventually led to a troubled marriage that saw him divorced by the family he started in this country. "Twenty years later, when he took a horsewhip to his wife, the family attributed his rages to the effects of his war experiences, especially his time in Andersonville," Snow writes. "I’m wondering how the trauma of the Civil War is handed down through the generations. Along with the suffering of imprisonment under more or less intolerable conditions, did the stoical Davies experience survivor guilt as men around him died every day? What did he have to do to stay alive in that hell? Does my own tendency toward exaggerated anxiety and guilt have any relationship with his pain? And it’s not just about my family. The more I read about the war and Reconstruction, the more I think about the trauma that underlies modern U.S. politics." She is currently searching through the south, retracing her great-great-grandfather's battle-weary steps set in motion by the outbreak of the Civil War 150 years ago this Tuesday, April 12. She says it comes from new spiritual studies that suggest our nation is marred by its failure to honor, or even try to understand, its ancestors. "Jackson, Clinton, Bolton, Vicksburg, the Black River — where are these places?" she writes. "I don’t know what kind of resonance is waiting for me, but something important is there... I am realizing that the ancestors have tremendous power for us." More when Violet returns...