4/20 | Text Mining the Civil War

 Did the Voyant visualizations highlight anything about the documents from your soldier’s file that you had not recognized reading the documents? What did you learn about the contents of the other Civil War primary sources by text mining them?

The way the Voyant website arranged the documents in my file honestly made them easier to understand. For one, I didn’t have to decipher the documents like I did at first. It was difficult reading the original documents because they were in cursive and unique handwriting that made it difficult for me to be able to read and understand each document quickly. And seeing as how there were multiple documents, I really felt like at a certain point I wasn’t sure what I was reading.

I learned a lot about my soldier’s injury in depth. Because my documents in my specific folder really only discussed Milon Robinson after death (pensions, his widow, collections), I liked reading the Voyant files because it talked in detail about how serious the injury was. There was officially medical terminology about how the circumference of his bone, which is something I wouldn’t have been able to decipher from the handwritten doctor’s notes in our soldier’s file.

I learned a lot about his affidavit’s because they were in depth and it was so much easier to read the texts that way. I learned a lot about the conversations discussed regarding his pension and how they came to decisions about his collections and what his wife would get. I also learned about the people that spoke on his behalf and signed these affidavits. They became more than names and signatures for me, I could understand their point of views and why they were speaking on the behalf of Mr. Robinson to begin with. I really enjoy the Voyant website when it comes to handwritten old files. It provides a better understanding which is crucial when creating an entire profile based off your analyzation of someone.

I really like the way the Dan Mason letters were arranged because of the Voyant system. I believe that if they were not text mined, it would have been difficult to understand each letter and what he was trying to say because the letters were very choppy, which make sense because they were written during the war. But from an analyzation stand point, its a little difficult when the story is hard to comprehend. But it was set up through Voyant in a way where poems are set up, with stanzas, making it easier to understand and ultimately feel where the author was coming from in his storytelling and it painted a picture of the type of conditions they were in and the emotional distress they were under.


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