A contribution to Nursing Clio on troubled Civil War veteran and CWGK find Robert Buffum. How did the specific trauma of his wartime experience, namely being a prisoner of war, clash tragically with the institutional solutions his society had to postwar mental health problems?
For all the differences between Buffum’s United States and our own, between Buffum’s war and those our military fight now, his story nonetheless points out that the challenges our veterans face are the product not only of a foreign policy that places them in traumatic theaters of war, but also of domestic policy, which too often fails to follow through on the promise of support and opportunity made at the local recruiting station. For all that has changed since Robert Buffum killed himself, so much else remains tragically the same.
Use Buffum’s story in your classroom or community forum through CWGK documents and discussion materials.