“& now for Dixey away, & for the End of the rebellion”
Postbellum America is usually singled out as the era when American tourism began to thrive. Historians have argued that a Southern tourism boom took place following the Civil War that in turn led to the formation of mythologized interpretations of the Southern landscape and population. An examination of letters and diaries written by soldiers, doctors, nurses, teachers, and wives during the war reveals that this process of mythologizing began much earlier—when thousands upon thousands of Northerners traveled South during four years of forced travel—the Civil War. The sources left behind by men and women involved in the war effort have created a collection of wartime travelogues, divulging how the participants comprehended the political, cultural, and environmental differences that had driven them to war, realized what was at stake, and documented the effects of the war on Southern peoples, cities, and landscapes.
"On our way..." seeks to illustrate this point by presenting the journal of a Union soldier from Illinois as a case study. Tracing his war travels through the Trans-Mississippi Theater of the war, this project uses various means of textual analysis and visualizations to uncover the ways in which Union soldiers interacted with and understood the South—its landscapes and its peoples—and how wartime travel provided the means for Northerners to perceive or reject both long-established and newly-developed notions of difference between themselves and the nation's internal "other."