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Home Again: Circa-1866 lithograph by Fabronius; painted by Trevor McClurg. Courtesy of the Library of Congress. instead of gaining ground at home, as some successful businessmen did. “They feel like they lost out on the best years.” Along with the economic burdens and emotional hardships, needy Northern soldiers also faced a harsh social stigma when they returned home. Unlike their rural Southern counterparts, whose poverty was accepted as the normal plight of postwar adjustment, soldiers in the citydriven North were often condemned for their economic problems. “In the North, as the century goes on, veterans who can’t keep up and don’t get a good job lapse into low-level poverty, and they’re blamed for it. That’s the American work ethic — if you’re poor, it’s your fault,” explains Marten. Southerners, on the other hand, had a straightforward admiration for their veterans. “In the South during the Civil War, you were a soldier. It’s a less complicated approach,” says Marten. “They had the same problems going on as Union soldiers, and economically, it was much worse. The South was devastated by the war … but they’re perceived very differently.” In the end, the Civil War was challenging for all involved. Like today’s soldiers, many of whom serve in National Guard or Reserve units, Civil War soldiers came from communities, and Marten sees similarities between past and present veterans. “If they had a bad day at battle, that town had a bad day,” Marten says of Civil War combat units, which were organized by region. Today’s veterans have a similar connection to their hometowns. According to Marten, “The link between the community and individual unit is very close … because they are our neighbors, bosses and teachers.” So while more than a century has passed since Civil War veterans returned home, some of the themes of Sing Not War are still relevant today. Says Marten, “I hope I’ve captured ways in which soldiers adapted or failed to adapt to peacetime and the attitudes toward veterans of the people who stayed behind.”² Marquette University 7