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stx
11-08-2008, 01:23 PM
I'm looking for any books or articles that anyone has heard of that relate to post traumatic stress disorder thoughout history, especially the Civil War. I've already found a book called Shook Over Hell that pertains to this, but I need more, and I think I have an article from Living Historian Magazine, but anything will help.

Thanks for your help

Benedict
11-08-2008, 04:41 PM
I would be very intersted as well!

If you have access to www.jstor.com , you should check it out - it has a lot of periodicals' articles.

BrettKIllinois
11-08-2008, 05:03 PM
We (the professor and I) came up with a theory in my 200 level US History course that the temperance/prohibition movement really took off in the 1870s as a response to civil war vets self medicating with alcohal. The correlation that seemed obvious to me was research I found on Capt Tazewell Co. E 55th IL, leaving his wife and kids and starting new families, and original wifes claiming her husband was a drunk when trying to claim pensions against the 2nd or even 3rd wife also trying to claim pensions on behalf of the vet. The temperance movement often claimed that it was alcohal that was making men up and leave their families.
The interesting thing about civil war vets and ww2 vets is their peer group... many men of similar age had similar traumatic experiences. I think this mutual understanding found itself centered around the all powerful G.A.R. and later in the VFW... Vets today don't have the luxury of a strong social support network unless they stay in the military, and even there mental problems are still seen as a weakness, I do not doubt that this tradition dates back to the civil war.
So instead of talking about or working through it, there is the bottle...

Sorry for the scatterbrain thoughts but I really think that PTSD from the civil war contributed to alcohalism which contributed to strengthing the temperance movement.... Prohibition was passed as the soldiers from WWI were on the boats coming home...

Dale Beasley
11-09-2008, 01:35 AM
And Brett,

The bottle is a great place to begin.

BrettKIllinois
11-09-2008, 06:38 AM
It's always been there.... hmmm an idea for another group... period booze discussion... apple jack to shine and all points in between.

Hank Trent
11-09-2008, 08:52 AM
We (the professor and I) came up with a theory in my 200 level US History course that the temperance/prohibition movement really took off in the 1870s as a response to civil war vets self medicating with alcohal.

Out of curiosity, have you looked at other times temperance movements increased, and looked for similar correlations? For example, there was a huge upswing in the 1850s (Maine laws), which slackened in the 1860s. Any theory on why temperance became such a focus then?

On the main topic, I'd also look at the vagabond/tramp era that came after the war as a symptom of the same thing. For example:


The custom has grown up in the United States during the last thirty years. [This is the 1890s.] Before the Civil War there were comparatively few tramps in America, and practically no railroad tramps. After the war there suddenly appeared on the scene a large class of men who had become so enamoured of camp life that they found it impossible to return to quiet living, and they took to wandering about the country. Source (http://books.google.com/books?pg=PA302&lpg=PA302&sig=9WDob5imIweMoewI5i6sGu-C8hU&ct=result&id=mXMNWifRBTsC&ots=bt-SO3QK64&output=html).
Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

lukegilly13
11-09-2008, 09:10 AM
On my ggggrandfather's pension papers (58th VA Vol Inf. Co. E.) he complains of headaches and heart races caused by stress.
Also, my ggggrandfather on the other side served as in the 64th VA after working his way up from a scrub (Ira Creech). Family tradition puts him sleeping with a pistol the rest of his life and basically becoming a "mean ol' miser" (my great grandmother's actual words at age 100...not sure if she was speaking from experience and memory or from memory of story but she did overlap a few years next door to him). Story has it that even his wife would not stay in the same room with him because "he was mean as hell" (again quoting my grandmother).
Now, referencing my personal brain and highly valued opinion (at least by me)....
The same things that causes PTSD now were there then. Now whether "johnny came marching home" and went to a Dr. and the Dr. used the term PTSD I dont' know....not sure when that phrase was termed. This is one thing I feel comforted in saying....the causes were definatly there. The men were human (just as soldiers are now)....anyone who endures what soldiers do and see what soldiers have to see are entitled to some post traumatic stress....whether a disorder develops is up to the terminology of a dr. diagnosis....
My opinion, they deserve a few beers! All we can do is hope they can move on and we (as a country) should take care of them if they can't...again, they've earned it!

Question for Mr. Beasley,
In your experience with medical activity in combat...could desertion be a result of PTSD? For instance, if a soldier sees or does something horrible...beyond the imagination of folks who have never been "there".....and the fellow just can't take it anymore and he bolts....he fails to report back from leave (pardon my lack of knowledge to ways a modern soldier could skip duty) or something....have you ever seen PTSD argued as a reason to avoid a dishonorable discharge or PTSD diagnosed as a reason for discharge? Reasoning: If so, then one could argue that desertions (not before a battle) post major battle or within the duration could be the result of fear and anxiety caused by too much time in the s***....and indeed, although not termed...could be PTSD in soldiers who had not yet been discharged.

Hank Trent
11-09-2008, 10:38 AM
On the topic of desertion, here's a transcription of a letter that Patrick Lewis sent me recently, talking about a man I portrayed last summer in 1869, the former Colonel S D Bruce. One thing that puzzled me about Bruce was that he apparently suffered from heart problems in his forties, yet went on to lead a full, active life, not suffering any apparent disability until a stroke shortly before he died in 1902. In the days before modern medicine, that seemed remarkable, but this letter explains it.

While I don't think this would fit the DSM-IV definition of post-traumatic stress, since it happened too close to the inciting incident, it's an example of how a stress-caused reaction was spoken about in the period. And it also points out the complexity and irony of defining behavior using two different models: moral (cowardice) vs. medical (anxiety reaction), both of which apply. It was written by Col. Buckner, about Col. Bruce, after Shiloh:


Our Col [Bruce] has gone home *sick*. Genl Nelson says *threatened *with sickness – and that it was strange that he was never *threatened * until the day of the fight. He also says that we will not come back any more, and may other things going to show his slight opinion of him. Among other things he remarked in speaking of him "that he lost his head during the fight" & would stare at the enemy like a foolish man not having presence of mind enough to comprehend any order given. Nelson has no hesitation in saying that he rendered us no assistance during the fight & was of no account as a commander. For myself I believe him & have for some time believe him to be a coward and the fact that he left his brigade about 11 oclock in the morning of the fight, & did not return until that night after the fight was over & we were in Camp, and then only stayed a few minutes, but went to the landing and went on board a steamboat & went to Savannah & did not return until the next day about noon, although we expected a fight at day on Sunday morning are in my opinion facts sufficient to cashier him if brought to light. All this may not be cowardice, but I would not like to have so acted: Where he went when he left the field I dont know, but I have heard from various sources that he went to a hospital in the rear. Of course I would not have any thing that I might say repeated, but my opinion is firmly made up about him. And on Sunday night we marched up on the bank where the enemy lay not three hundred yards from us, expecting on the morrow to make the most desperate struggle ever made by human beings with every prospect of a defeat. I told Hanson that I knew he (B) was a fool and no gentleman and believed him to be a coward. Whether I was correct in my opinion may be determined by others.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

Dale Beasley
11-09-2008, 11:31 AM
Luke, I am not really sure of your question.

This past week I had to take a kid to the VA for 30 days in-house treatment. This kid that I taught in Boy Scouts who just got back a year ago, had a total brain shutdown. He had a total blank look on his face, much the same look I saw from the boys that we treated who had just gotten off the front. He just wanted to put a "gun in his mouth" and he would not say another word.

I am not sure on the treatment, but he needs a rebooting., of such.

Elaine Kessinger
11-09-2008, 12:10 PM
Some thoughts...but first, the experiences that led to them: My mother's mother was a nurse during WWII with the army, when she returned from service she helped to expand the mental health section (specifically "re-adjustment" section) in her area, and worked there as a mental health nurse for over 30 years. My mother found her way into social work as a community organizer, and one of the groups she was most proud of helping, held closest to her heart, was the Viet'Nam era vets who were living with PTSD and the loved ones who were trying to understand. I grew up overhearing discussions of treatments, without disclosing names they would speak of cases, & ect.
...some things were noticed about the gents as they returned: 1)they were reluctant to speak of their experiences with people who had not shared their experiences. That could be why the vets sought other vets, rather than a father, uncle, mother, or wife...and this hurt the families very much and led to distrust, arguments, and turning from society and social network , "you can't know what inhumane things I was asked/forced to do, you weren't there, and if you were there and understand, you're a crazy as I am, and I don't want anything to do with crazy people..."
2)they exhibited complusive behavior with saftey, checking the doors and windows several times, sitting with backs to the walls so "no one can sneak up on them", insisting on caller ID but listing themselves as "Unknown Caller", grilling the clerk about why they need the survey info... "what's the food for, Gramps, it's a 2 hour drive to Auntie's? well, you never know how long you'll really be gone."
3)the men who returned from war were different from the men who left, and the women they returned to were different from the women they left. This was the subject of countless discussions, much heart-break, from the families... the soldier spent the whole war dreaming of the innocent, witty, beautiful, happy families they left, not realizing the families have stepped up to fill the roles the men have left, the caos of the economy has made sacrifice nesseccary, the sheer magnitude of the "death lists" have killed the happiness... "no innocence here, aren't you proud of your strong heroine?" ...and the reality of the war vet the families got back versus the hero they expected back is a shock too. "if you knew the things I've done, you wouldn't call me any hero" "you're a little girl/lady, I'm not supposed to talk about stuff like that or use that language around a girl/lady"
All these we heard after every war, from every vet... I'm sure some folks will find letters from our era detailing similar experiences...
So you know, pre-WWI the clinical term was often malingering (although malingering has a different definition now), in G'ma's era shell-shock, then by Mom's era PTSD. Maybe this book will help:
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Flashback/Penny-Coleman/e/9780807050408/?itm=8
there's another out there by a woman who was a nurse in Viet Nam, who worked with PTSD when she returned, but I can't remember the title.:(
Anyways..I'm sorry about the novella, I hope it was helpful in some way. ...and when our heros in Iraq start coming back to us, try to be open to who they are now, not who they were when they left us, and help is out there, make use of it, you aren't alone.

Becky Morgan
11-09-2008, 12:58 PM
I can't find the citation at the moment, but one of my great-great-uncles, James Franklin Ste(a)dman, of Lancaster, Ohio, probably the J.F. Steadman listed in the 3rd Ohio, showed marked symptoms of some mental illness after his return from the war. He eventually committed suicide after publishing a pamphlet making a number of odd statements about the reasons for and conduct of the war. He may have been another victim of "blue mass", or it may have been PTSD, or both.

BrettKIllinois
11-09-2008, 02:24 PM
I'd love to read the pamphlet

MickCole
11-09-2008, 03:29 PM
Not directly relevant to Mr. Lincoln's War, but I highly recommend "Achilles in Vietnam" by Jonathan Shay as background reading for better understanding PTSD. Also, a study of photographs of Civil War soldiers known to have been in combat may be helpful. I have often noted a difference of expression between those who have not been in combat and those who have, perhaps most notably the 1000-yard that is one of the symptoms of my own struggles with PTSD. I can certainly relate to the heavy drinking mentioned in some posts in this thread, as I was one of those who drank heavily after my own return from flying a few hundred combat missions in Vietnam. As described by my VA psychologist, I was almost certainly self-medicating, and not an alcoholic, as I can now have one or two drinks without any temptation to drink more.
Mick Cole
37th VA Co. E

stx
11-09-2008, 08:29 PM
Thanks for all of the great information. I have an uncle who suffers from PTSD after serving in Vietnam and when I was younger I was always very perplexed by it, I didn't really understand it and this led me to want to do some research on it. I find the connection to the temperance movement also very thought provocking and I thank you for bringing it up. Thanks again to anyone who provided information.

Becky Morgan
11-09-2008, 11:02 PM
I'd love to read the pamphlet

I might...or might not, judging by the excerpts the Rev. Melvin Stedman had in his genealogy (which I have but can't find at the moment either!) Supposedly, the historical society in Lancaster has/had a copy circa 1990. I haven't been out there to see whether they still have it or not.

JWKellum
11-11-2008, 02:00 AM
Folks,

Just for added information, one of the terms used during the ACW era for PTSD was "Soldier's Heart". In my gggreat uncle's pension application to the state of Florida, the physician's affidavit list his disability as "Meloncholic Insanity". The doctor believed it was directly related to a head wound (he was wounded five times). His widow eventually received a pension of $120.00 per year from the state of Florida.

Mudslinger
11-11-2008, 02:47 AM
And Brett,

The bottle is a great place to begin.
__________________
Dale Beasley
16th Louisiana Vol Infantry
J. M. Wesson Lodge #317

Operation Iraq Freedom II

"We are unworthy Servants.....We have only done our Duty"
--Luke 17:10


I agree,many of us have been there...drowning inside that bottle. Let's not forget the post-war veterans that were addicted to opiates back then.

http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k80/valleyfirerescue/CaptNMiller.jpg
Capt. Nick Miller
33rd O.V.I., Co. F (http://geocities.com/ovi33rdregiment/home)
"The Acorn Boys"

http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k80/valleyfirerescue/bshift.jpg
Former Firefighter-EMT
St. Andrews FD
Charleston, SC
Engine Co. 4, Battalion 2

"Because I live, ye shall live also", John 14:19

Hoosier Yank
11-11-2008, 10:05 AM
I'm looking for any books or articles that anyone has heard of that relate to post traumatic stress disorder thoughout history, especially the Civil War. I've already found a book called Shook Over Hell that pertains to this, but I need more, and I think I have an article from Living Historian Magazine, but anything will help.

Thanks for your help

You will not find any period references to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as this diagnosis is fairly recent c. 1980. PTSD was only added to Title 38: Pensions, Bonuses, and Veterans' Relief, CFR 4 Schedule for Rating Disabilities on February 3, 1988. FYI... CRF 4 is the VA's regulations for disabilities.

I currently work for the Department of Veterans Affairs as a Senior Veterans Service Represenative (GS-11) at the Indianapolis VA Regional Office. One of my specialties for our office is PTSD stressor verification.

I’ve had many claim folders come across my desk and have seen it diagnosed for WWII and Korean War veterans as anxiety condition, combat neurosis, depression, etc…

About six years ago our file clerks ran a list of inactive claim folders and found several that were Civil War Veterans. The reason we had these claim folders was because the disabled (i.e. mentally or physically handicapped) children were drawing benefits based on their father’s service. Prior to shipping them to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) one of the file clerks knew I was a CW aficionado and let me review the claim folders prior to retirement to NARA.

Almost every one of these CW veterans were residents of the * Marion Branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers in Marion, Indiana (now known as the Marion VA Medical Center). Many of these CW veterans had some sort of mental disability or signs of a mental disorder. More than likely it would be what we call PTSD today.

You will need to research period references and look for the symptoms of PTSD. You can find a listing of PTSD symptoms in the Diagnostic and Statically Manual of Mental Disorders (aka DSM IV). These symptoms haven’t changed no matter if you label it as “soldiers heart”, “shell shock“ “combat fatigue”, or “PTSD”.

I read a study with regards to PTSD several years ago at work (I wish could remember where I found it) while doing some research. It was noted that as a group WWII Veterans were less than likely as Vietnam Veterans to have PTSD. Why? When you think about it’s simple. For WWII Veterans after the war ended they came home as a unit for the most part, these men had time on transport ships to share their experiences with one another. These WWII Veterans had time to adjust unlike our Vietnam Veterans. When a Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine ended their tour of duty in Vietnam they were put on a plane and within usually two days, discharged and back in civilian life they went.

Strictly speculation on my part here but, I would say that CW veterans probably were more able cope with their wartime experiences than we are today. These men after the war were neighbors, relatives, and often times participated in the GAR and other societies/organizations. Again, several avenues to have someone who you can relate to and to share your experiences with.

DoD has learned a big lesson from this and we are seeing more and more active duty and/or reserve/National Guard units are returning from Iraq or Afghanistan having stand downs once they return to the States. This allows these men and women to unwind together and to allow time for them to share their experiences, being with one another among people who have been there, done that and truly understand your emotions and feelings.

* My Masonic Brother and Pard in the GHTI (Matt Rector) wrote a fantastic article about the lack of preservation efforts at the Marion Branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers in the January/February 2005 edition of the “Civil War Historian”.

cap tassel
11-12-2008, 10:29 AM
Out of curiosity, have you looked at other times temperance movements increased, and looked for similar correlations? For example, there was a huge upswing in the 1850s (Maine laws), which slackened in the 1860s. Any theory on why temperance became such a focus then?

On the main topic, I'd also look at the vagabond/tramp era that came after the war as a symptom of the same thing. For example:


Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

It seems linking a temperance movement to ptsd would be very hard, the same with tramps I'd think. Wouldn't it have to rule out any other movements that might up the intolerance for drinking or on the other hand other things that would up the drinking that have nothing directly to do with the war? For certain there was ptsd but, on another note, I've always wondered if comparing people today to people of the past, apples to apples, is flawed due to cultural differences not figured into it. Today things are a little different I'd say. We're spoiled with comforts and instant gratification. I wonder if this plays a part in how we deal with the horrors of war ... being the wimpier we are the greater it affects us. Has anyone done any work on that? My thoughts on this are hard to prove too I guess.

BrettKIllinois
11-12-2008, 02:15 PM
I resent the idea that we are wimpier than those of the past. First that ties in the old idea that mental health issues are a weakness, which helps no one. I think today we have more information about science and people are smarter thus we can look and notice warning signs.

Don't confuse ignorance with braun.


For certain there was ptsd but, on another note, I've always wondered if comparing people today to people of the past, apples to apples, is flawed due to cultural differences not figured into it. Today things are a little different I'd say. We're spoiled with comforts and instant gratification. I wonder if this plays a part in how we deal with the horrors of war ... being the wimpier we are the greater it affects us.

Hank Trent
11-12-2008, 02:19 PM
It seems linking a temperance movement to ptsd would be very hard, the same with tramps I'd think. Wouldn't it have to rule out any other movements that might up the intolerance for drinking or on the other hand other things that would up the drinking that have nothing directly to do with the war?

I think the difficult thing about linking temperance movements to ptsd is it's a two-step process, or maybe actually three-step. First, you have to show an increase in drinking. Then show it's due to self-medication for ptsd. Then, you have to show that the temperance movement is a backlash to that. More drinking and a temperance movement aren't necessarily correlated, and in fact, there may be more apt to be an "anti" movement when something is already declining, as society is already starting to see it as a vice that people can do without.

With the tramp era, at least you eliminate one step, and can look directly at who took to the road and try to figure out why. Though honestly, we have a hard enough time trying to figure out the "why's" of people's behavior today, when we can walk right up to them and ask them.


For certain there was ptsd but, on another note, I've always wondered if comparing people today to people of the past, apples to apples, is flawed due to cultural differences not figured into it. Today things are a little different I'd say. We're spoiled with comforts and instant gratification. I wonder if this plays a part in how we deal with the horrors of war ... being the wimpier we are the greater it affects us. Has anyone done any work on that? My thoughts on this are hard to prove too I guess.

Here's a link you might be interested in, though it doesn't address that exactly:

Some characteristics of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), notably flashbacks, appear to be culturally influenced and are not ‘universal’ across time, according to a new study. (http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/pressparliament/pressreleasearchive/pr390.aspx)

Not sure I agree entirely with the premise, though I haven't read the underlying article. Another explanation is that once a patient is aware that a symptom is common in his disorder and that it has a label, it's simpler and acceptable to recognize and talk about it, whereas without that cue, he may be unable or unwilling to recognize it as a discrete symptom and describe it to others, even though he's experiencing nonetheless.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

Sgt. Bill
12-02-2008, 11:10 PM
I am currently reading a very interesting book that in part concerns just what you are looking for, PTSD through the ages.
The book is titled On Killing , the Psycological cost of learing to kill in war and society By Lt. Col Dave Grossman.

One of the studies cited in the book was preformed during WW2 in both the European and Pacific theaters by Swank and Marchland, that stated after 60 continous days of combat a unit would suffer 98 percent psycological casualties of all surviving soldiers. The remaining 2 percent were predispossed toward "aggressive psycopathic personalities".

Kind of makes you think a bit. I do not neccessarilly agree with all of the authors conclussions but it does have some fascinating information and plenty of food for thought.

William L. Maddox