Tracy L. Barnett


University of Georgia


Dr. Stephen Berry

Academic Interests:

American Civil War
Nineteenth-Century United States History
War and Society


“Armed, Drunk, and Dangerous: White Paramilitary Violence in the Civil War Era South”

Bio Note:

Tracy L. Barnett is a doctoral student at the University of Georgia, working under the direction of Stephen Berry. Her primary research interest is the cultural history of the nineteenth-century South and she is fascinated by male behavior—especially the bad and unsavory varieties.

Her dissertation, “Armed, Drunk, and Dangerous: White Paramilitary Violence in the Civil War Era South,” is a study of white paramilitary organizations and firearms in the eleven former Confederate states. Operating under a limited claim of officially sanctioned authority, these southern men had self-deputized, formed paramilitary organizations, obtained guns, and proclaimed themselves community standard bearers and the enforcers of the South’s racial and social hierarches. From antebellum slave patrols, to wartime militias and home guards, to the post-war Ku Klux Klan, the actions of these white Southern men were based on a well-established, nineteenth-century custom of self-deputized, paramilitary policing.

In addition to her dissertation, she is working on a project about alcohol consumption and drunkenness among white southern men. “To Drink and Die in Dixie” argues that the Civil War represented a cataclysmic episode that re-conceptualized men’s understanding of manhood, control, personal comportment as well as their relationships toward deviance, vice, and morality. She also has a forthcoming article, “Mississippi ‘Milish:’ Militiamen in the Civil War,” that will be published in Civil War History in 2020.

She has presented her work at the Organization of American Historians, Pennsylvania Historical Association, and the Society for Military History's Annual Meeting. She also serves on the Society for Military History's Facebook and Twitter Management Committee as the 2018-2020 Mark Grimsley SMH Fellow in Social Media and as a research fellow for UGA’s eHistory, working on both CSI: Dixie and Private Voices: Corpus of American Civil War Letters.

Added January 2018

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