Thinking of yesterday's post, all of the skulking and AWOLs of the Civil War: imagine being an ACW veteran lucky enough to have gotten through a few battles and then having to swallow the pill of having the shirkers surround you in the veteran's organizations; having them win public offices; having them buried next to you with honors.

To give a sense of the dimensions of this problem, consider this:

Historian William Marvel has written that every one of the last dozen recognized living Confederate veterans was bogus. Marvel found that the last one, Walter Williams of Texas, would have been 5 in 1860 and 10 when the war ended. Williams didn't begin identifying himself as a Civil War veteran until 1932, when he applied for a Confederate pension.

The Civil War, and all of its associated phenomena, are something we do not yet even remotely understand .