Garden of Ruins: Occupied Louisiana in the Civil War by J. Matthew Ward

Garden of Ruins: Occupied Louisiana 
in the Civil War by 
J. Matthew Ward

Thu, Jan 11, 2024
6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Virtual Events

Join us for a virtual evening with J. Matthew Ward as he discusses his forthcoming book Garden of Ruins: Occupied Louisiana in the Civil War (LSU Press, 2024). This program is sponsored by the Friends of the Cabildo as part of the Second Thursday Lecture Series. It is free and open to the public, but registration is required. The program will take place virtually with Zoom. 

Please register here:

About the Book
J. Matthew Ward’s Garden of Ruins serves as an insightful social and military history of Civil War–era Louisiana. Partially occupied by Union forces starting in the spring of 1862, the Confederate state experienced the initial attempts of the U.S. Army to create a comprehensive occupation structure through military actions, social regulations, the destabilization of slavery, and the formation of a complex bureaucracy. Skirmishes between Union soldiers and white civilians supportive of the Confederate cause multiplied throughout this period, eventually turning occupation into a war on local households and culture. In unoccupied regions of the state, Confederate forces and their noncombatant allies likewise sought to patrol allegiance, leading to widespread conflict with those they deemed disloyal. 

Ward suggests that social stability during wartime, and ultimately victory itself, emerged from the capacity of military officials to secure their territory, governing powers, and nonmilitary populations. Garden of Ruins reveals the Civil War, state-building efforts, and democracy itself as contingent processes through which Louisianans shaped the world around them. It also illustrates how military forces and civilians discovered unique ways to wield and hold power during and immediately after the conflict.

About the Author
Dr. J. Matthew Ward is a historian of the Civil War and the American South. Currently, he is Assistant Professor of History at Quincy University in Quincy, Illinois. His book Garden of Ruins: Occupied Louisiana in the Civil War is forthcoming from LSU Press in May 2024.

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