Date of Award
Dr. Trey Berry
Dr. Terry Carter
Dr. Bill Downs
As with all history, researchers cannot draw an accurate conclusion or understanding of a particular historical event, state of mind, or philosophy through mere generalizations. The historian, like any proponent of truth, must seek to understand the individual facts and principles of the subject matter in an effort to inductively form his final thesis on what truly constitutes history. In achieving the full factual record of "Johnny Reb" entrenched in the complex social heritage of the Confederate South with all its various nuances and distinctions, a direct account of a Confederate soldier's life proves indispensable. Concordantly, the Civil War diary of Micajah A. Thomas gives both the professional and lay historian an enhanced and honest conception of the common Confederate soldier from the peak of his glory to the depths of his drudgery.
Researchers must remember that the world in which a person lives ultimately affects that person in many intricate and unforeseen ways. When seeking to understand the entirety of a Confederate soldier's life by focusing in on the highly specific, the researcher needs to realize that those specifics have an intricate connection with the whole--they directly influence one another. Consequently, the researcher requires an adequate understanding of the battles and campaigns that occurred during the Civil War when considering the idleness of the individual Confederate soldier. It is not in the scope of this paper, however, to review the entirety of a five-year war. Since Mr. Thomas's diary only spans May 18, 1864, through December 31, 1864, an overview of the war around this time, with specific attention given to the conflicts in Mississippi will suffice.
Hentschel, Jason, "Waiting for Orders: The Civil War Diary of Micajah A. Thomas" (2005). Honors Theses. 43.