View single post by Hellcat
 Posted: Sat Jan 22nd, 2011 05:35 am
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Root Beer Lover

Joined: Tue Nov 15th, 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 981

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I'm not sure it was chivalrous or if I even deserve to be admired to be perfectly honest. I shouldn't have gotten involved in the first place and when I did I should have appologized to elizabethsmith for contributing to the tangent from their question. You were one of those who tried sticking to it and really your comment about returning to the topic was more chivalrous as, in my opinion and quite likely my opnion only, it should have both returned the focus to where it was meant to be while perhaps unintentionally, or intentionally, scolding folks for diverging this way. Not really chivalrous to apologize for taking part if you feel like a heel after something like that.

Anyway, on the topic I think the obvious answer is the one we're likely to be taught in school. That is the country was seperated into the North and the South and that it was as simple as choosing one side over the other. But then I look at thing's like Daniel N. Rolph's My Brother's Keeper: Union and Confederate Soldiers' Acts of Mercy During the Cvil War. By the time I'd graduated from high school I knew a little about Richard Kirkland. But that was from my own studies at home. Not once did I hear anything about Kirkland or any other soldier showing any kind of kindness to the other side in any history lesson. Not once. Those lessons in elementary and high school always made it sound so simple and that no one on either side could possibly show compassion for the folks on the other side.

But when you start looking into it things weren't as simple as it sounds. And as I type this I have to wonder if we were really as divided as we think. Certainly we were didvided, there's no doubt for me about that. But certainly there were instances when what divided us were set aside. I mean think about Kirkland, even when they realized what he was doing why didn't the Federal's keep firing on him? By the simplistic view they should have despite the fact that he was, indeed, lending aid and comfort to the enemy, their comrades. But that's just it, they realized he was trying to help their comrades and they ended up cheering him for it.

And he's not the only one Rolph mentions in the book. He's got a chapter on the Freemasons in the war and it turns out that many times the Freemasons from one side willingly helped those from the other side. Despite being Freemasons shouldn't they have treated each other as such simplistic views would lead us to believe, as the enenmy  to be treated as nothing more or less than such? In this simplistic view shouldn't they have set aside such bonds for only their Masonic brothers fighting on their side?

What about the infamous exchange of goods between soldiers of the Army of the Potomac and soldiers of the Army of Northern Viriginia which saw things like coffee traded for tobacco by toy/paper boat? That certainly suggests the divide wasn't as great as the simplistic view leads one to believe.


Not to mention there were multiple divides really. You had folks in the North who symphasized with the South.

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