Webb Garrison’s Civil War Dictionary: An Illustrated Guide to the Everyday Language of Soldiers and Civilians
Most Civil War buffs know that General Robert E. Lee’s favorite warhorse was the gray gelding Traveller. Few realize that Cincinnati was a favored horse of General Ulysses S. Grant. Who were the pads? What was junk? Hint: Soldiers said that it was about as edible as old rope. The Civil War Dictionary is a compilation of Garrison’s more than thirty years of research from primary sources. Formal and informal terms are listed, including nicknames, slang, places, ships, types of guns, and diseases. Many illustrations are included, and where appropriate, examples and anecdotes are given. Although the dictionary claims to consist of the everyday language of soldiers and civilians, the collection is military oriented. Even disease names are those that tended to affect the soldiers in the field. Still, the work is commendable, and I recommend it to anyone interested in the language from the American Civil War.