My name is Adrian DuVerger, and I’m from New Haven County, Connecticut. I’m a junior at Keene State and a Secondary Education and History double major. I have always been enamored with history because it’s always been more than just names and dates to me. It’s the people that existed, and why they did what they did, though my favorite parts of history are the quirky stories you find hidden between the pages. Why did the indigenous peoples structure their houses the way they did? What inspired Benjamin Franklin to fly the kite? Why do time zones exist? People study the names and dates all the time, and sure those are important too, but people and places are more than just numbers.
War crimes and war criminals are an integral part of any war. And as far back as the start of human history, people have fought and killed in war and on the battlefield. The motivations behind those battles change, as do the way they’re fought, but the narrative stays the same. As awful as war already is, there are people that do things they might not ever consider because that nation is often fighting to survive under pressure. It wasn’t until 1929 when the League of Nations sat down and decided on the definition of what makes a war criminal. But what happens to everything that happened for thousands of years leading up to that point? That’s what I’m here to determine: How was the concept of “war crime” defined during the Civil War? I will be looking at different people and situations of the Civil War and analyzing them. I will need to analyze the Civil War in two ways. One is the the modern-day definition of a war crime. The other is what the standards of war were in the mid-nineteenth century.