Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Announcement: Civil War Saints

Announcement: Civil War Saints

By: Ardis E. Parshall - August 21, 2012

We are in the midst of the sesquicentennial observance of the American Civil War. Readers in other parts of the country are probably more aware of this than are those of us in Utah, since Utah and the Mormons largely sat out that war. That doesn’t mean we weren’t affected – we were, as participants, and as suspected traitors; or that we didn’t have opinions – we did, about the causes of the war, and about the expected aftermath.

The Civil War affected Mormon emigration from Europe to Utah; it brought Union troops to a permanent camp (now Fort Douglas) on the bench above Salt Lake; it proved yet another point of separation between us and the rest of the nation when its organized veterans’ lobby opposed Utah statehood and Mormon civil participation for decades after the war.

A few Latter-day Saints served in the armies of the Civil War, and a much larger number of men who had previously served in either the Union or Confederate causes later joined the Church. Women who served with Clara Barton as nurses during the war joined the Church and moved to Utah.

A new book issued by the Religious Studies Center at BYU, in cooperation with Deseret Book, under the editorship of Kenneth L. Alford, addresses all these matters. You’ll notice some names familiar to the Bloggernacle in the list of essays included in Civil War Saints:

Prelude to Civil War: The Utah War’s Impact and Legacy
William P. MacKinnon

Overview of the Civil War
Sherman L. Fleek

“Have We Not Had a Prophet Among Us?”:
Joseph Smith’s Civil War Prophecy

Scott C. Esplin

Abraham Lincoln and the Mormons
Mary Jane Woodger

Rumors of Secession in the Utah Territory 1847-61
Craig K. Manscill

“We Know No North, No South, No East, No West”:
Mormon Interpretations of the Civil War, 1861-65

Richard E. Bennett

“What Means This Carnage?”: The Civil War in Mormon Thought
Brett D. Dowdle

The Lot Smith Cavalry Company: Utah Goes to War
Joseph R. Stuart and Kenneth L. Alford

Protecting the Home Front: The Utah Territorial Militia During the Civil War
Ephriam D. Dickson III

What’s in a Name? The Establishment of Camp Douglas
Kenneth L. Alford and William P. MacKinnon

Mormon Motivation for Enlisting in the Civil War
Brant W. Ellsworth and Kenneth L. Alford

Indian Relations in Utah during the Civil War
Kenneth L. Alford

The Bear River Massacre: New Historical Evidence
Harold Schindler with addendum by Ephriam D. Dickson III

Latter-day Saint Emigration during the Civil War
William G. Hartley

Utah and the Civil War Press
Kenneth L. Alford

Latter-day Saints in the Civil War
Robert C. Freeman

Civil War’s Aftermath: Reconstruction, Abolition, and Polygamy
Andrew C. Skinner

Mormons and the Grand Army of the Republic
Kenneth L. Alford

“This Splendid Outpouring of Welcome”:
Salt Lake City and the 1909 National Encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic
Ardis E. Parshall

All this historical goodness is supplemented by an introduction, timeline, bibliography, index, and a slew of useful appendices. Heavily illustrated (some items from my own collection illustrate my chapter), with an attractive page design, high quality paper, hard cover, and dust jacket contribute to a very nice physical volume, which clocks in at just under 600 pages. $31.99 at Deseret Book; not yet available at Amazon.

It’s the Mormon Moment, 1861-1865!



  1. I was reading down the list of contributors and Bill MacKinnon was the only one I really was sure I knew – until I got to the end! Well done you!

    Comment by Alison — August 22, 2012 @ 4:45 am

  2. Looks like I’ll have to check my baggage the next time I fly home from SLC. I don’t think 600 pages will fit in my carry-on.

    Comment by Mark B. — August 22, 2012 @ 7:35 am

  3. I’ll have to check it out.

    Comment by Steve C. — August 22, 2012 @ 9:08 am

  4. Brett Dowdle is a Juvenile Instructor oldtimer, and Joseph Stuart is newly associated with “the JI.”

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 22, 2012 @ 9:31 am

  5. At 600 pages, the Mormon Moment may stretch into the Mormon Month or Two. Looks like a fascinating read. Unlike Mark, I have a Deseret Book in Bellevue, WA, so I will only need a handtruck to get it from the store to my car.

    Comment by kevinf — August 22, 2012 @ 12:13 pm

  6. This sounds like a great book. It seems quite perfect to have Bill MacKinnon in the beginning slot with his subject and for you to bring up the tail end with your subject.

    Comment by Maurine Ward — August 22, 2012 @ 11:54 pm

  7. We make a great pair of bookends!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 23, 2012 @ 2:49 am

  8. I’ve read Brett’s chapter which is wonderful and look forward to getting to the other essays soon. Thanks for the heads up about this volume, Ardis!

    Comment by Christopher — August 26, 2012 @ 8:04 am

  9. It’s not just 600 pages, it’s big and TALL. I have to be in Reno for work on Tuesday and I thought I would take that book on the plane with me Monday. I went to buy it at Deseret Book today and I think I’ll wait until I get back home. It won’t fit in my carry-on.

    I will need an autograph on your section.

    Comment by Grant — August 31, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

  10. Hehe, yeah, if you think of it as a per-ounce or per-square-inch price, the book is CHEAP!!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 31, 2012 @ 2:10 pm

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