View single post by JoanieReb
 Posted: Sat Jun 9th, 2007 03:58 am
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Joined: Wed Jan 24th, 2007
Posts: 620

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I had committed myself to not coming in on this thread.


One reason:  I thought it would be better to read and learn than to add.


But, I fear that this thread is dying out, and the subject is of great interest to me.  If it dies out now, I learn next to nothing.


Of all the various personal “internal conflicts” that I have struggled with in ALL aspects of my life (relationships, career, child-rearing, finances), I have NEVER  been conflicted  - in terms of emotion vs. intellect - to the extent that I am conflicted by this War Between the States that occurred nearly a century-and-a-half-ago.


Make no mistake; there has never been a moment in my life when I have been conscious of questioning the utter repugnance of slavery.  That was a gift from my forefathers:  All men are created equal.


Of course, the history of slavery (like the history of religion and of wars) reflects/defines the history of civilization – but, that is another, very complex subject.


Whatever the case, Southern Boys whom had never even seen, much less aspired, to owning a slave, still fought barefoot, freezing, slowly starving, through dysentery and exhaustion and debilitating exposure –


- and, emotionally, I still want to fighting along-side them, kicking Yankee butt.


William Faulkner (anyone who doesn’t know who he is, is on their own to look him up on-line) once wrote that there was no Southern Boy whom, at the age of eight-or-so, didn’t act out the Battle of Gettysburg with himself being the soldier who turned the tide in the South’s favor.


I still suffer from the same problem, emotionally – no matter how many descriptions and how many times I read about the Battle of Gettysburg, the outcome is always the same.  And, emotionally, I suffer the loss again and again.


Intellectually, I have worked hard over the years to argue myself into believing,  as Ole says:  that I am "somewhat glad that this nation was not split as the Confederacy had intended”.  But, I am honestly afraid to pursue THAT argument within myself too far; for fear that I might prove myself wrong, and just turn out to be saying, “The grapes are sour”. 


I have always used WWII to convince myself that it was right that the Union continued.  Still, it rings hollow within me.


I have tried and tried to understand Yankee motivation, when it came to the common soldier, and this is the short list of what I’ve come up with:

-         adventure

-         employment

-         glory

-         fear of being called a coward

-         socio-political environmental issues



So, I have always wondered:  Did the average Yank believe in preserving The Union any more than the average Confederate believed that The War was about slavery?


Personally, when I really think about wearing gray (or butternut), I become passionate

unto death about fighting “bluebellies”.  But, when I think of wearing blue, I can’t raise a glimmer of inspiration.


Yet, despite seriously deficient leadership during the first three years of The War, veteran Yankees stayed and fought with an honor and passion to be admired by both sides. 


Dear Lord – I think of Cold Harbor, so late in The War, when the true Yankee veterans were no fools, yet still knowingly let themselves be slaughtered.  They must have had some reasons – WHAT?????  Their homelands weren’t being invaded, and even their prosperity was growing in spite of – or maybe because of – The War (this is another subject for those whom wish to argue it). 


SO – why did the average Bluebelly fight?  Was it just the expansiveness of the times?  The chance for adventure and romance?  The opportunity to get worked up and lick someone good?   Social pressures? 


There were no immediate desperate reasons for the average bluebelly to fight, such as an invasion of homeland, which was the primary (I believe) reason for a “greyback” to fight.


Why did the average Yankee soldier fight?


This actually has kept me awake at nights, trying to sort it out…


Certainly, there is someone out there whom can “project” him/her – self into the Yankee frame of mind the same way that I can project myself into the “Rebel” frame of mind. 


Please, enlighten me….


Thanks and sincerely,










Last edited on Sun Jun 10th, 2007 01:52 am by JoanieReb

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