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My dissertation focuses on returning Union soldiers and Northern relief organizations. I explore the programs and institutions set up by private charities and state and local governments during and immediately after the Civil War to support discharged soldiers and their families. I have also studied and published on the conflict in Massachusetts between antislavery activists and anti-abolitionists.

Recent blog posts…

Boston’s Civil War Monument and the Emergence of the Massachusetts Grand Army of the Republic

About two hundred thousand people crowded the streets of Boston on the day the city’s Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument was dedicated. The octagonal granite shaft, ornamented with large bronze statues and low relief panels, had been ten years in the making from conception to completion. It stood 137 and ½ feet tall on Flagstaff Hill,Continue reading “Boston’s Civil War Monument and the Emergence of the Massachusetts Grand Army of the Republic”

Arriving at Camp Misery

The inexperienced recruits of the 11th Rhode Island Infantry marched along a road slick with wet, red clay as they left their camp on Miner’s Hill near Arlington, Virginia on January 14, 1863. They had been posted on that hill since their arrival in Virginia about two months before. Some felt a bit sentimental aboutContinue reading “Arriving at Camp Misery”

Rainsford Island Hospital and Marginalized Veterans

My dissertation focuses on the improvised, decentralized network of relief organizations and programs that formed to aid the Civil War veteran during and in the years immediately after the war. I argue that these forms of support were, contrary to some interpretations, generally successful. However, one cannot turn a blind eye to the failures. AndContinue reading “Rainsford Island Hospital and Marginalized Veterans”


Patrick T.J. Browne

PhD candidate, History, Boston University
pbrowne@bu.edu