Reflections on New Discoveries

Well this has been a great experience for me this far, as I found  out a lot more information about this great source for research. I had dabbled into WorldCat before, but not with the variations on search terms. I think that I was looking for one set of ideas in my previous search terms, i.e. just Confederate uniforming and the “ragged” rebel myth. I had been finding some information, but after this week’s searching, I began to have my eyes opened, not only open,  but, WIDE open to the possibilities of what might be out there.

I was surprised to find several new sources which really are almost exactly what I have been hoping were out there. I found leads to other thesis’ that might have new source materials, as well as other insights into Confederate uniformology and material culture. This is very helpful in my research and I am very excited about the possibilities in the next few weeks. I have a lot of sources to request on Monday. I am looking forward to getting into these, as well as many others that I have just put on my list of findings.

I started out searching Confederate, uniforms, then moved into more detailed searches, including the terms, quartermaster, requisitions, blockade runners, invoices, imports, shoes, accoutrements, etc. These search terms led me to many different sources, which I hope will lead to support for my thesis, yet if they point to a different finding, well, I guess the “ragged” rebel theory will stand, as it has for almost 150 years. However, I feel that with just reading through some of the new information, (even if it is just cursory look to start with), and combining these new sources with the digitized photographs from the Library of Congress, the myth is just that, a myth.

This evidence is important to me, as this has been a great learning experience for me this week and I am excited about moving forward on this project. These sources have helped to focus my research not only on the Confederate uniforms, but also on the other parts of Confederate material culture, i.e. mills, depots, developing a working quartermaster system from a non – existent entity to a fully functioning system, etc. I am also looking forward to sharing my recent findings with Dr. Quigley and the other faculty who I am considering consulting with on this topic and possibly on my future committee.


5 thoughts on “Reflections on New Discoveries”

  1. I’m curious about your use of the word “information” to describe what you are finding. At this point, aren’t you looking for secondary arguments? And I wonder why myth-making wasn’t one of your search terms?

    1. Thanks Dr. Jones, I didn’t think about searching the myth making angle, I’ll have to try that. I am trying to dispel the long standing, accepted version of the “ragged” rebel, which was part of the “Lost Cause” in its infancy. As for the new information, I found a thesis that was written on Confederate uniforms, which I am hoping will provide some new insight into more secondary sources. I have begun to find many more secondary sources to supplement my primary sources at this point. I am really excited about the class and this project. Thanks for everything!

  2. Tiny,

    I like the fact that you have now expanded your search to include other Confederate material culture other than just uniforms. I think this will help you broaden your topic a bit more and will most likely lead you in a direction much different than that what you initially intended. I am looking forward to seeing what you find in the near future!

    1. Thanks Laura, I’m not sure how broad to go on this project, as I don’t want to get too broad that I begin to lose focus on the central idea for my thesis, that being the attempt to dispel the myth of the “ragged” rebel. The photos that I am looking at really do show incredible detail; combine them with the primary and secondary sources and you really get a new idea of what Confederate soldiers looked like in the war’s later months and years. Thanks for your support.

  3. Tiny,

    It is always good to play around with different terms and ideas when searching databases. “Memory” combined with some of your other terms might produce some helpful results, perhaps not but it may be worth a try. Also as you go through the sources try using the ranking system described in the syllabus to speed up the process if you find it is slowing you down. This method allows you to find more resources while searching and spend your time more wisely when you examine them in detail later. I am anxious to see what your search turns up!

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