Bright and Gloomy Days

The Civil War Correspondence of Captain Charles Frederic Bahnson, a Moravian Confederate

  • Author(s): Chapman, Sarah Bahnson
  • Series: Voices of the Civil War
  • Imprint: Univ Tennessee Press
  • Publication Date: 2003-08-06
  • Status: Active
  • Available in Hardcover - Cloth: Price $37.00 | Buy Now

Bright and Gloomy Days, the latest contribution to the Voices of the Civil War series, provides the unique perspective of a junior Confederate officer and member of the Moravian church, a traditionally pacifist institution. The letters of Charles Frederic Bahnson, an assistant quartermaster in the Confederate army, to his father, a bishop in the Moravian church, between 1860 and 1865 relate events such as the Gettysburg and Shenandoah Valley campaigns, tell stories of the “good life” in the garrison of the forts near Wilmington, North Carolina, and even provide news of a slave woman’s poisoning her mistress’s child. In his correspondence, Bahnson reacts to early news of the war when he lived in the North, army politics, construction of winter quarters, commodity prices in conscription, punishment of deserters, handling of the dead, Confederate morale, and problems related to his official duties as an army supplier.

Bahnson expresses strong patriotic sentiments; because of his “safe” situation, his many references to camp life chronicle not military action but the daily routines of life in the campgrounds. The letters of Charles Frederic Bahnson illustrate a dedication to the Confederate cause and a sense of duty to his fellow southerners, along with a commitment to the Moravian faith.

The Editor: Sarah Bahnson Chapman is the great-great-granddaughter of Charles Frederic Bahnson and is the director of interpretive programs at Old Salem, Inc.