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 Posted: Fri Dec 30th, 2011 11:44 am
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Mark
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I think it made more of a psychological difference than a physical difference. The rail fence itself is not going to soak up many bullets or artillery rounds, but the Rebs going over that fence had a pretty good idea that it was the line of no return. Either they break the center, or they weren't coming back at all. Many didn't go at all because they realized that the position was virtually impregnable. The idea of courage had really changed by 1863. Instead of making a forlorn attack against an impregnable position being seen as heroic, veteran troops refused to be sacrificed to no good end. That was the new idea of courage-the courage to not be killed needlessly (Gerald Lindermann wrote a brilliant book on this topic called Embattled Courage). I think that might account for Pender's sources saying that the second fence really broke up the formations.

Mark

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