CWGK Project Director Patrick Lewis writes a new piece in Nursing Clio about troubled Civil War veteran Robert Buffum.
[I]f some veterans can never escape the battlefield, Robert Buffum could never leave his cell. He spent more time behind bars of one sort or the other than he did as a free man after leaving the army. … The man continually reached out for help. And even when his society tried to do right by him, those treatments had the unintentional effect of moving him from one subconscious nightmare to another, lived one.
What does his experience in asylums and prisons mean for contemporary American veterans? Visit Nursing Clio for the full story and check out the CWGK reader and discussion packet, “Where I Now Stand” to bring the conversation to your classroom or community group.
Robert Buffum served his government bravely and received his nation’s highest military honor. Then he reached out to it for help when the burden of that service became too much for him to handle. But he received none, and that was a tragedy for him. And his family. And that of his victim.
Read more about this compelling and relevant story of military service, alcohol and opioid addiction, and mental health on the KHS Blog.
By Matthew C. Hulbert
In 1862, Thomas Edrington shot and killed his wife at point-blank range. A murder trial ensued — the verdict of which hinged largely on the matter of Thomas’s sanity and the court’s consideration of his health…
To find out what happened to Thomas Edrington and how CWG-K documents can help us understand the intersection of mental health, crime, and legal justice in Civil War Kentucky, please check out this week’s dispatch from the CWG-K archives graciously hosted by Nursing Clio.