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Military History/Military Voting Rights pre Civil War


How did soldiers, stationed away from their residence prior to the Civil War, vote in National Elections? Specifically, Army units in Florida during the 2nd Seminole Indian War, all the way up to 1860, had an opportunity to vote in 1856 for an anti-slavery National candidate, and yet Florida did not record any such votes in 1856 and 1860, even though I would think there were northern troops in Florida.

When I did the research for my book, Desperate Engagement, about the July 9, 1864, Battle of Monocacy, I found out that soldiers away from home had not been allowed to come home to vote until 1864 when Lincoln issued orders allowing it for the first time. The Union soldier vote turned out to be crucial in his victory.  

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Marc Leepson


I can answer most questions dealing with all aspects of U.S. military history. My expertise is the Vietnam War. I also have written extensively about the U.S. Civil War, World War II, World War I, The Philippine War, and the American Revolution. My books include a concise biography of the Marquis de Lafayette, the history of the American Flag, and the post-Jefferson history of Monticello, and therefore know a great deal about those specific subjects. I specialize in writing about matters of strategy--not tactics. And I also am interested in personalities. I have very little knowledge about ordnance or the value of old military memorabilia. Nor do I know a lot about uniforms and insignia--except about the Vietnam War. To repeat: I have no expertise in assessing the value of ordnance or uniforms or any type of military equipment. And my knowledge about military uniforms is only limited to those of the Vietnam War era. If you have questions on these topics, I recommend contacting an antiques dealer in your area who specializes in military uniforms, ordnance, etc.


Author and journalist with more than 35 years' experience.

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New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Baltimore Sun, Chicago Tribute, New York Newsday, the Arizona Republic, St. Petersburg Times, Detroit News. Magazines: Smithsonian, Preservation, The VVA Veteran, Vietnam, Civil War Times, America's Civil War, Military History, World War II. Editor: The Webster's New World Dictionary of the Vietnam War

BA, 1967, George Washington University, History MA, 1971, George Washington University, European History

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Vietnam Veterans of America Excellence in the Arts Award, 2011

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Vietnam Veterans of America

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