I Went Searching For an Indian and Found I Was a Dutchman

I Went Searching for an Indian and Found I Was a Dutchman.
I've always been interested in history so when my Uncle Wayne gave me some information about our family roots I had to begin changing the way I've always thought about where I came from. We had always been told, "there's Indian blood in our ancestry, we just haven't been able to prove it". I have been surprised to learn that while searching for an Indian link, I found a Dutchman. Now I'm not saying there may not be some Indian blood somewhere but the prospect looks dimmer the more I find out.
I also have had some general prejudices about folks back east, especially areas like Ohio (I grew up in the Woody Hayes era and couldn't stand Ohio State). What a surprise (and God ordained I believe) to find we arrived in Ohio in the early 1800s, my ancestor fought in an Ohio Regiment in the Civil War, and came to Kansas afterwards. That, and some visits to Ohio, has adjusted my thinking.
And the other reason why-to keep communication between the far flung members of my family and encourage them to drop a note so we can keep in touch with the details of their lives. We miss too much by not being there in the day to day workings of life. So, leave a post for all of us.

Monday, August 18, 2014

PTSD and the Civil War

Civil War Veterans in 1884, Wm T Sherman in the front row center
Library of Congress

It's Monday morning, August 18, and we're finally back home after an epic 14.5 hour drive from Marietta yesterday. Mac is back from the kennel, the Hurricane has to make a run to the grocery store and I need to mow but it's too wet for now.  So I'll add this.
As you might remember, I mentioned the fact that grandpa went off to the Dakotas after moving to Kansas.  He stayed for a few years, originally landing in Chase county and then off to Winfield where he built a sawmill on Walnut creek. He went north to the Dakotas with Buck, his oldest son presumably to build a sawmill there. But given that there was gold fever going on, I suspect not. He left behind his wife Sarah and six children and I always wondered why. If you remember the Hurricane and I talked on this while walking around Shiloh and Chickamauga. When seeing the horrors of war up close and wondering how one would even mentally survive, we speculated it could have been the result of what he saw and experienced.
Before we get too far down that road of speculation I will say I believe we are all responsible for our own behavior, even with the struggles of life which, for some of us are admittedly huge. However this may be one explanation for why a man develops wanderlust and won't, or can't, go back home.
The day after the Hurricane and I were talking about this, a good buddy and CW researcher, Nick Burchett, posted this article by Sarah Handley-Cousins* on his FB site. I'll let you read it and mull it over.

Gen Charles Cruft
It mentions just what we were talking about and gives not only some examples but also some of the verbiage used at that time for mental illness: Neuralgia, headaches, sunsickness, and so forth. It's strange that after I read the article and then was reading Larry Daniels' "Days of Glory, The Army of the Cumberland 1861-1865" (p416-417 Louisiana State University Press 2004) that as the Atlanta campaign closed in the fall of 1864, many commanders had to be replaced due to sickness. Namely Cruft with "a severe fever", Turchin with "sunstroke, and an accompanying violent headache", and others who had to be replaced as they suffered with "neuralgia". Add to that cases of drunkenness, the form of coping taken by many at that time (and since as well ) for stress.  I am not making case that these men suffered from mental illness as we would describe it now, but it's certainly worth pondering as one tries to get inside the skin of those who saw much difficulty.
So where does that leave me? About where I started, although I think, as I do with a lot of issues as I grow older, I become much more compassionate and sympathetic. Maybe that's the "grace" portion of gracefully growing older.
Ivan Vasilyevich Turchaninov aka Gen'l John Basil Turchin

I will continue to ponder such things and allow the Maker and Revealer of the thoughts and intents of man to sort out the truth.  Until such time I am (as they said back them), respectfully, your most obedient servant...
*Sarah Handley-Cousins is a graduate student in history at the University at Buffalo.

No comments:

Post a Comment