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"This Great and Terrible War..."

Robert Buffum from Pittenger

"This great and terrible war has fetched me where I now stand. But I don’t regret my service to my country. Had I a thousand lives I would give them. ... By my service to my country I have been made a pauper, a lunatic and a criminal, and I place myself in the hands of the great Governor of all things, who knows all hearts."

A month later, Medal of Honor winner Lieutenant Robert Buffum committed suicide in a New York criminal asylum.

What did the Civil War do to its veterans? How did they cope with the horrors they suffered and inflicted? What trauma did soldiers bring home to their families after 1865? How relevant are these stories to our present?

Robert Buffum makes us confront each of these questions. To help guide thoughtful discussions in classrooms and communities, CWGK has assembled a guided primary source reader that presents the story of a veteran struggling with loss, physical scars, substance abuse, a crumbling domestic life, and lack of support from the government he fought to defend.

"This Great and Terrible War..."