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By Bruce Catton

A desirable learn of the 1st glossy warfare and its impression on American tradition.

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For the Civil War is not a closed chapter in our dusty past. It is one of the great datum points in American history; a place from which we can properly measure the dimensions of almost everything that has happened to us since. With its lights and its shadows, its rights and its wrongs, its heroic highlights and its tragic overtonesit was not an ending but a beginning. It was not something that we painfully worked our way to, but something from which we made a fresh start. It opened an era instead of closing one; and it left us, finally, not with something completed, but with a bit of unfinished business which is of very lively concern today and which will continue to be of lively concern after all of us have been gathered to our fathers.

Under this system cities, towns, and states bid against one another for recruits, and in the latter part of the war a man could easily collect a thousand dollars for enlisting. No better system could have been devised for getting the wrong kind of men into the army. In the final year of the war a recruit camp was usually conducted like a penitentiary. It had to be: it had pretty much the same class of occupants, and they were just about as reluctant to remain. You can read of places where new recruits were commonly made to wear the ball and chain; of men who had enlisted ten or a dozen times, collecting the bounty each time and then deserting at the first opportunity in order to Page 46 re-enlist somewhere else; of veterans in famous regiments complaining that their ranks were being filled up with out-and-out criminals, who would sit around the campfire (as long as they bothered to remain in camp) and brag about their exploits as safecrackers or cutpurses.

Cm.  Title. Full name: Charles Bruce Catton. 7 58-13602 ISBN 0-8195-6016-2 Page 5 to Willard Wallace Page 7 Contents Introduction 11 The First Modern War 14 The Politics of War 28 The Citizen Soldier 48 Making Hard War 68 The Era of Suspicion 87 The General as President 106 The Heritage of Victory 122 Index 127 Page 11 Introduction It is perfectly possible that we are spending a little too much time nowadays in talking about the American Civil War. It compels our attention, to be sure. As an historical pageant it still has power to stir our emotions; as a fearful object lesson in the dire things that can happen when our political machinery breaks down, it continues to be worth detailed examination; as an example of the tragic price we have paid for an expanded ideal of the worth of human unity and freedom, it deserves all the attention we can give it.

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