When Alcander Morse enlisted in the 37th Illinois following the Union defeat at Bull Run, he could not have known that his three year term of enlistment would not be enough to see Union victory. Nor could he have expected that the war would take him from his farm in rural Illinois into Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, and the southernmost tip of Texas.

A year into his term of service, Morse began keeping a journal of his daily activities. In documenting the effects of the war on himself and his regiment as they interacted with and perceived the South, he reveals his understanding of the cultural and environmental differences between North and South that had driven the regions to war. Morse's vocabulary and observations of the South reflect a larger discourse of imperialistic attitudes towards the country's southern states that had been widely disseminated throughout the North, and significantly impacted the way with which it waged war against and later, reconciled with, the nation's internal "Other."


Read the journal kept by Alcander Morse during his service with the 37th Illinois Volunteer Infantry. Also uncover the history of the journal and the various incarnations passed down through the family.


Discover the life of Alcander Morse, the journal's author: from his birth on land awarded to his grandfather for his service in the Revolutionary War, to his death on a South Dakota homestead.


Understand Alcander Morse and his journal within the context of the discourse of imperial power permeating Northern attitudes as they enteracted with the people, places, and institutions of the South.