View single post by javal1
 Posted: Sun Aug 30th, 2009 11:49 am
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Grumpy Geezer

Joined: Thu Sep 1st, 2005
Location: Tennessee USA
Posts: 1503

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Good to see you Doc.

As to #1, many of the soldier's journals and diaries I read seem to agree as to the motivation of what these men did. In most cases it wasn't " I believe in (insert favorite Northern cause here)" or "I believe in (insert favorite Southern cause here)". It was more personal than that.

In the Civil War, the guy on your right may very well have been your neighbor. Your Mom probably knows his Mom. The guy on your left may be your hometown's preacher's son. To refuse to do as ordered, or show cowardice in any way, directly affected not only your reputation, but that of your family and friends at home. If you shirk your duty, would you be able to face your family and friends once the war was over? Worse yet, would you be able to face the mother of your buddy who died doing his duty while you ran?

Add that to the "unit cohesivness" that naturally develops through training, etc. and I think the option of not doing what you're ordered may have be worse than doing it.

As for #2, that's a question I've always asked myself. Bravery has many faces. Would today's soldiers stand in an open field 50 yards from a well-armed enemy and trade fire? I just don't know. But the face of combat has changed, and we'll probably never know.

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