Heroic Martyrs

in War Stories

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780226108629
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226108643 | DOI:
Heroic Martyrs

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This chapter examines the stories of heroic martyrs in the American Civil War, focusing on the case of Nathaniel Bowditch who enlisted in the First Massachusetts Cavalry Regiment as a second lieutenant. It discusses the efforts of Bowditch's father to work on eight elaborate memorials dedicated to his son's memory and how his work transformed his son into a heroic martyr whose behavior galvanized comrades and whose story inspired listeners by evoking their better natures. This chapter analyzes why Bowditch's tale become one of heroic martyrdom and why other Northerners who lost relatives in the war choose to repeat similar tales.

Keywords: heroic martyrs; American Civil War; Nathaniel Bowditch; memorials; Northerners

Chapter.  10762 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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