John William De Forest: Uncivil war

Antiwar literary and philosophical selections


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war


John William De Forest
Miss Revenel’s Conversion (1867)


[M]en still endeavored to convince each other by argument while holding the pistol to each other’s heads; but from the St. Lawrence to the Gulf there was a spiritual preparedness for slaughter which was to end in such murderous contests as should make ensanguined Europe rise from its thousand battlefields to stare in wonder.


How many such marriages took place during the War, sweet flowers of affection springing out of the mighty carnage! How many fond girls forgot their womanly preference for long engagements, slow preparations of much shopping and needlework, coy hesitations and gentle maidenly tyrannies, to fling themselves into the arms of lovers who longed to be husbands before they went forth to die! How many young men in uniform left behind…

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