Confederates in the Attic Characters

The main characters in Confederates in the Attic include Tony Horwitz, Robert Lee Hodge, Alberta Martin, and Isaac Perski.

  • Tony Horwitz is the book's author and the viewpoint character in the episodes he reports on.
  • Robert Lee Hodge is an enthusiastic Civil War reenactor who guides Horwitz on a historically-grounded reenactment tour of numerous battlegrounds.
  • Alberta Martin is the oldest living widow of a Confederate soldier, whose connection to the Confederate past is ambiguous.
  • Isaac Perski is Horwitz's great-grandfather, a Russian immigrant whose lifelong fascination with Civil War History sparked Horwitz's interest in the topic.


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Last Updated on June 26, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 848

Tony Horwitz

Tony Horwitz is the author of Confederates in the Attic and appears as a central figure and viewpoint character in each chapter. He travels to different Southern states to interview people to find out how they relate to the Confederacy and the legacy of the Civil War. 

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Horwitz describes the youthful origins of his fascination with the Civil War. His great-grandfather had owned and studied a cherished Civil War history text, which he shared with Horwitz. Horwitz’s father, in turn, pored over the ten-volume Photographic History of the Civil War. As a child, Horwitz painted a mural of Civil War scenes on the walls of his attic—presumably the origins of this book’s title.

As an adult, Horwitz took up the topic again after moving back to the United States and settling in a Virginia town in the Blue Ridge Mountains. One morning, Horwitz heard a troop of Civil War reenactors, including Robert Lee Hodge, parading outside his house. His curiosity was again piqued, and he began researching stories of how the Civil War continues to linger in American—and particularly Southern—culture.

Robert Lee Hodge

Robert Lee Hodge is a Civil War reenactor who is exceptionally committed to his passion. He organizes and participates in “hardcore” reenactments, in which actors dress in accurate (and often soiled and tattered) period clothing, subsist on historically accurate foods, and willingly endure the hardships of Civil War soldiers, such as cold weather and mosquitoes. Hodge is an ebullient personality who uses period-specific jargon and occasionally performs an act called “the bloat,” in which he mimics the bloated corpses seen in Civil War photographs. 

Hodge is Horwtiz’s primary connection to the world of Civil War reenactments, and as such he is a central figure in chapters 1, 6, and 10. In chapter 10, he and Horwitz travel together on what Hodge calls a “Civil Wargasm,” a reenactment tour across numerous Civil War battlegrounds. A photographic portrait of Hodge, in which he poses in period garb, is featured on the cover of the first edition of Confederates in the Attic.

Alberta Martin

The time of Horwtiz’s research, Alberta Martin was, at 90-years-old, the oldest living widow of a Confederate soldier. Alberta is the central figure in chapter 13, in which Horwitz visits her in the town of Elba, Alabama. Horwitz depicts Alberta as polite, with a thick Alabaman accent and a penchant for telling long stories. When Alberta was twenty years old, already a widow and with a small child, she met William Jasper Martin, a neighbor and eighty-year-old widower. He could support the two of them with his Confederate soldier’s pension, and so they soon married and had a child. By Alberta’s account, William spoke little of his time in the Civil War. Horwitz’s subsequent research indicates that William could provide no information about his wartime experiences to the pension board, casting some doubt upon his service.

Isaac Perski

Isaac Perski is Horwitz’s great-grandfather, whom Horwitz referred to as “Poppa Isaac.” He moved to the United States from Russia in...

(The entire section contains 848 words.)

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