Lesley J. Gordon holds the Charles G. Summersell Chair of Southern History at the University of Alabama. A former editor of Civil War History, she is the author of General George E. Pickett in Life and Legend (1998) and A Broken Regiment: The 16th Connecticut’s Civil War (2014) and a coeditor of Inside the Confederate Nation: Essays in Honor of Emory M. Thomas (2005) and This Terrible War: The Civil War and its Aftermath (3rd edition, 2014). She is currently at work on a book manuscript entitled "Battlefield Cowardice: Violence and Memory in the American Civil War."
While recent Civil War scholarship has brought a new level of complexity to our understanding of its military and cultural dimensions, surprisingly little has been done in terms of illuminating one of the key, and most disconcerting, moral concepts used to evaluate battlefield action and character: cowardice. For those so charged with faltering in the battlefield, the impact could be devastating and long-lasting, extending well past the end of the war. Gordon utilizes both primary and secondary sources to trace the ways in which various conceptions of cowardice impacted military consciousness and the war’s cultural legacy.