The Fortress War: Effect of Union Fortifications in the Western Theater of the American Civil War

dc.contributor.advisor West, Carroll Flagel, Thomas Robert
dc.contributor.committeemember Hoffschwelle, Mary
dc.contributor.committeemember Hunt, Robert
dc.contributor.committeemember Norkunas, Martha
dc.contributor.department History en_US 2016-05-13T18:26:34Z 2016-05-13T18:26:34Z 2016-03-25
dc.description.abstract Civil War historiography generally overlooks Union occupation forts or interprets them as forward bases of supply. What is missed when these structures are not explored in their wider context? This dissertation determines that the Union Army and African Americans constructed more than 300 forts in some 130 cities and towns in the Western Theater, where the majority of Southerners free and enslaved resided. Further, this study examines the impacts of these fortified positions, particularly upon adjacent slave societies.
dc.description.abstract Initially epicenters of environmental destruction and incubators of human and animal contagions, these forts became major portals for slave escapes. Subsequently, fortified areas enabled many escapees to reinvent themselves as contract laborers and commercial entrepreneurs. Further, by the end of the war, many fortified areas had evolved into generally stable city-states in which Federal soldiers, freed persons, and white citizens achieved tacit levels of coexistence. Posited here is that Union forts resembled Josef Schumpeter’s economic premise of “creative destruction,” a paradigm in which innovations continually dismantle outdated social and economic constructs. In short, Union forts were innovations. Traditionally depicted as arbitrarily destructive, Union garrisons were more commonly engineering operations, many of which successfully reallocated major commercial, industrial, transportation centers from Confederate to Federal use. Much of this stability and social transformation reverted to local white control when the U.S. War Department abandoned over 90 percent of these forts by the end of 1865. Ph.D.
dc.publisher Middle Tennessee State University
dc.subject American Civil War
dc.subject Disease
dc.subject Emancipation
dc.subject Environment
dc.subject Fortifications
dc.subject Military Occupation
dc.subject.umi History
dc.subject.umi American history
dc.subject.umi Military history
dc.thesis.degreegrantor Middle Tennessee State University
dc.thesis.degreelevel Doctoral
dc.title The Fortress War: Effect of Union Fortifications in the Western Theater of the American Civil War
dc.type Dissertation
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