Glossary

Introduction to terms and definitions found throughout the encyclopedia.

P

Pacifist

A person who objects to warfare on moral and religious grounds. During the Civil War, thousands of people in the North and South were members of pacifist churches, especially the Society of Friends (Quakers), Mennonites, Shakers and Dunkers. Other pacifists belonged to secular organizations such as the New England Non-Resistance Society and various utopian communities.

Partisan

A member of an irregular military force formed to oppose control of an area by a foreign power or by an army of occupation. During the Civil War, partisans were especially active in the South,lending aid to Rebel forces and carrying out guerrilla activities against Federal troops.

Peace Democrats

People who remained in the Democratic Party after the beginning of the Civil War and who did not support the Union's war efforts -- as opposed to War Democrats who remained in the party, but did support the war.

pennant

A flag that ends in a point or swallowtail. 

Pickett

Soldiers detailed to stand guard outside the perimeter of an encamped army, as the first line of defense against an attack.

Platoon

A military unit of soldiers larger than a squad and smaller than a company. In the Civil War a platoon equaled 5 squads (1 officer and 50 men) in the Union and Confederate armies. Platoons were usually led by a sergeant or a corporal.

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Ohio Civil War Central: An Encyclopedia of the American Civil War