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Download e-book for iPad: America Goes to War: The Civil War and Its Meaning in by Bruce Catton

By Bruce Catton

ISBN-10: 0819560162

ISBN-13: 9780819560162

A desirable research of the 1st sleek warfare and its influence on American tradition.

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Extra info for America Goes to War: The Civil War and Its Meaning in American Culture

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In this the Civil War soldier was perfectly characteristic, not simply of his own time and place, but of the American soldier of all generations. During World War II some highly thoughtful newspaper editorial writers and United States senators used to become very exercised over the soldiers' apparent lack of indoctrination. When pressed as to what he was fighting for, the G. I. Joe of recent memory usually said that he was fighting simply to get the war over so that he could get back to Mom's cooking, and at the time the serious thinkers felt that this revealed a dreadful state of affairs.

No colonel could count on all of his men; there was a steady leakage back from the firing line, even in the veteran regiments, from the beginning of the war to the end. Worse yet was the toll taken by disease. Medical examinations for recruits were very sketchy. Some regiments got in without any medical examinations at all; and in any case, medical care was so imperfect that there was a steady, remorseless drain on combat strength, month after month. The Civil War regiment had a paper strength of one thousand men; the regiment that could bring as many as five hundred to the field, after six months in camp, was very lucky, and the average strength of a veteran regiment would usually be between two and three hundred.

An Indiana soldier was even more explicit about it, declaring: "We had enlisted to put down the rebellion and had no patience with the red-tape tomfoolery of the regular service. Furthermore, the boys recognized no superiors, except in the line of legitimate duty. " It is perfectly obvious that an army organized in this way required rather special qualities of leadership from its officers. In general terms, the Civil War officer led his men, not because he wore shoulder straps, but because the men came to recognize and accept him as a qualified leader.

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America Goes to War: The Civil War and Its Meaning in American Culture by Bruce Catton


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