“Manhunter”: Lesson 5 from Stories of the Confederate South

Lesson Five: “Manhunter”


“There is no hunting like the hunting of men, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter.”—Ernest Hemingway

Topics for discussion and writing:

1) Discuss who would be manhunters today? (Bounty hunters, criminal investigators, elite soldiers, etc.) What skills are required? How would Chicoilithe have learned his skills? Do you think he enjoyed hunting men? Why? What did Hemingway know of hunting and especially, of hunting men?
2) Chicolithe is a true character. How does knowing this affect your perspective of him?
3) Camp Ford and the lives of the prisoners held there is described in detail at this site: Research and share interesting findings.
4) One of the “red-capped Zouaves” mentioned in the story kept a diary, which you can read here:
5) Discuss the dog Nimrod? Why was he given this name? How is the term Nimrod used today? (Someone foolish or silly) Discuss its original use in the Bible. Tradition says Nimrod was the builder of the Tower of Babel. There are many other legends about the historical Nimrod.
6) Chicolithe’s “Let loose the dogs of war” is a quotation from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Discuss its original context and why Chicolithe uses this quote.
7) Kate Stone from Brokenburn Plantation wrote a famous memoir entitled, Brokenburn. Research Kate Stone and the value of her journal. Find this book, read it, and discuss the life of a young girl in the time of war. Discuss why her family moved to Tyler.
8. Another of Chicolithe’s dogs was named Cerberus. In mythology, In Greek mythology, Cerberus was a vicious three-headed dog guarding the entrance to Hades, the realm of the dead.
9) Another allusion is to Cortez, the Aztecs, and the dogs Cortez used. Research how the conquistadors used the Mastiff in war.

Vocabulary and interesting people mentioned:

1) Molly Moore – a famous poet and writer of the day and in years after the war. She was known as the Texas Songbird. There is a United Daughters of the Confederacy Camp named after her. She really did visit Camp Ford.
2) kepi – type of cap worn by some soldiers.
3) stockade – a fence of built around the prisoners. Camp Ford used pine logs.
4) Jayhawkers – rogue groups of men who terrorized the civilian (and sometimes military) population. Members were often deserters, criminals, escaped slaves, or fugitives from justice.
5) mush – This was made of cornmeal. You can find a recipe for this hot creal and for fried cornmeal mush here: http://southernfood.about.com/cs/cornbread/a/bl30930u.htm
6) muslin – Any of various sturdy cotton fabrics of plain weave, used especially for sheets
7) cypress brake – A brake is an area overgrown with dense brushwood, briers, and undergrowth; a thicket. As cypress trees must have water for at least some of the year, this was then a dense thicket of cypress trees.
8. towhead – a blonde
9) sic – to set the dogs on someone. Compare our “sic’em!”
10. lariats – Used for throwing. In those days in Texas, they were usually made of horsehair or leather.