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Objects of WarThe Material Culture of Conflict and Displacement$
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Leora Auslander and Tara Zahra

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781501720079

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501720079.001.0001

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“Peeled” Bodies, Pillaged Homes

“Peeled” Bodies, Pillaged Homes

Looting and Material Culture in the American Civil War Era

Chapter:
(p.111) 4 “Peeled” Bodies, Pillaged Homes
Source:
Objects of War
Author(s):

Sarah Jones Weicksel

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9781501720079.003.0005

This chapter describes civilians' efforts to protect themselves against looting, burying their possessions or, in the case of women in the U.S. South, going so far as to hide them under their hoop skirts in specially designed pockets. The threat of looting had profound effects on the material world, resulting in not only the movement of thousands of people and their possessions but also the creation—and creative reuse—of objects that were designed to prevent the loss of one's monetary and emotional valuables. In addition, human property and movable property were linked because the looting of houses by Northern troops and enslaved people's self-emancipation often occurred in tandem. Ultimately, acts of theft, fear of looting, and the stolen objects themselves performed powerful cultural work in the United States during and after the Civil War.

Keywords:   looting, U.S. South, human property, movable property, Northern troops, enslaved people, self-emancipation, theft, stolen objects, American Civil War

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