- 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 off to battle for a variety of reasons. These included duty, honor, patriotism, and the belief that their cause was a just one—whether it was to preserve the Union, end slavery, defend the Southern way of life, or protect the rights of states from interference from 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 Union 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. . . .”