- from Civil War
“Long periods of tedium punctuated by moments of terror.” That’s how one historian described the life of a Civil War soldier. Soldiers spent months in camp drilling to prepare for the few terrifying hours of a battle.
Civil War soldiers on both sides went to war for a variety of reasons. These included duty, honor, and patriotism. They also believed their cause was just. That cause could have been to preserve the Union or end slavery. Or it could have been to defend the Southern way of life. Or to protect the rights of states from interference by the federal government. “I am sick of war,” a Confederate officer wrote. Yet, he went on, “Were the contest again just commenced I would willingly undergo it again for the sake of . . . our country’s independence and [our children’s] liberty.” A Pennsylvania officer wrote to his wife, “Sick as I am of this war and bloodshed . . . every day I have a more religious feeling, that this war is a crusade for the good of mankind. . . .”