“After the battle, what did they do with all the bodies?”
— common question from battlefield visitors

Layout 1The Aftermath of Battle: The Burial of the Civil War Dead
by Meg Groeling

Savas Beatie, 2015
192 pp.; 211 images
ISBN: 978-1-61121-189-4
Click here to order

Also available in Audiobook!
Click here to order

*    *     *

About the Book: The clash of armies in the American Civil War left hundreds of thousands of men dead, wounded, or permanently damaged. Skirmished and battles could result in casualty numbers as low as one or two and as high as tens of thousands. The carnage of the battlefield left a lasting impression on those who experienced or viewed it, but in most cases the armies quickly moved on to meet again at another time and place. When the dust settled and the living armies moved on, what happened to the dead left behind.

Unlike battle narratives, The Aftermath of Battle: The Burial of the Civil War Dead picks up the story as the battle ends.

The burial of the dead was an overwhelming experience for the armies or communities forced to clean up after the destruction of battle. In the short-term action, bodies were hastily buried to avoid the stench and the horrific health concerns of massive death; in the long-term, families struggled to reclaim loved ones and properly reinter them in established cemeteries.

Visitors to a battlefield often wonder what happened to the dead once the battle was over. In this easy-to-read overview that will complement any Civil War library, author Meg Groeling provides a look at the aftermath of battle and the process of burying the Civil War dead.

The Aftermath of Battle is part of the Emerging Civil War Series, offering compelling, easy-to-read overviews of some of the Civil War’s most important stories. The masterful storytelling is richly enhanced with hundreds of photos and illustrations.

*     *     *

The Aftermath of Battle also includes:

  • Appendix A: Colonel Hazen’s Monument by Christopher Kolakowski
  • Appendix B: The Confederate Dead of Franklin by Ashley Webb
  • Appendix C: The Dead of Hellmira by Chris Mackowski
  • Appendix D: Poplar Grove by Betsy Dinger and Edward Alexander
  • Appendix E: Return Visit to Vicksburg by Matt Atkinson
  • Suggested Reading

Endnotes and Sources

*     *     *

Read More about the Book:

Emerging Civil War correspondent Liam McGurl wrote a feature about Meg Groeling on October 28, 2015.

Emerging Civil War published a Savas Beatie interview with Meg Groeling on December 2, 2015.

*     *     *

About the Author: Meg (Thompson) Groeling, a contributing writer at Emerging Civil War, explores subjects beyond the battlefield—such as personalities, politics, and practices that affected the men who did the fighting. Aside from The Aftermath of Battle, she has also written First Fallen: The Life and Times of Colonel Elmer Ellsworth, the only biography written about Ellsworth since Ruth Painter Randall’s, published in 1960. Meg teaches math at Brownell Middle School, named for E. E. Brownell, a California educator who was named for Colonel Elmer Ellsworth and is related to Corporal Francis Brownell, the man who shot the man who killed Ellsworth.

Meg’s undergraduate degree in Liberal Studies with a minor in American History was from California State University, Long Beach. She is finishing her masters degree in History, with a Civil War emphasis.