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Rotov: In Praise of Slow Marching - General Civil War Talk - Civil War Talk - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Tue May 15th, 2012 01:20 am
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CleburneFan
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Dimitri Rotov has posted an enlightening examination at his blog about how Civil War writers all too often and perhaps even unconsciously emphasize the high speed of marches as if some special glory is attached to marches such as the notorious forced marches Thomas Jackson inflicted on his corps.

Rotov writes some examples that illustrate the exact kind of commentary one is commonly exposed to in histories of the war. He makes some excellent and cogent defenses of slower, more measured marches, citing definite advantages of a more humane pace.

Perhaps my recollections of the years of marathon training and the hardship of heat training, hill training and running through pain, thirst, and all the rest (but never carrying a rifle, bedroll, canteen, and assorted other items or suffering along barefooted or dodging sniper fire),has helped me sympathize with the extreme difficulties Civil War soldiers faced. I would have hated to have had to fight a several hour long battle after a ten or twelve-mile run.

Rotov's examination of march speed is not only the best examination I have ever read of this topic, it is the only examination I have ever read of it. It is a part of the Civil War soldier's life that seldom is looked at with critical eyes.

Thanks to Rotov, I'll never just gloss over statements about distances covered again. Take a look at Rotov's thoughts at:

http://www.cwbn/blogspot.com



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 Posted: Tue May 15th, 2012 01:28 pm
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sgtredleg
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Interesting aspect that I have not considered much. I'll look in detail to Rotovs commentary.
Off the top of my head, I would believe that a slower, more deliberate march would be beneficial to a soldiers physical stamina, if you could afford the luxury.
However, thinking of Jacksons Valley campaign as an example, I can truly see the value of speed marching. Due to Gen. Jacksons forced marches the Union troops were systematically defeated without ever being in a position to combine forces against the Confederates.
Even in todays MECHANIZED Army (at least when I was in) the Army trains to speed march with each individual carrying 80 lbs of equipment.
I do believe there is a valuable and noteworthy reason for forced marches, and that they should be held up as an example to achieve success.



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 Posted: Tue May 15th, 2012 01:59 pm
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Barlow
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I wonder what General Lew Wallace would think of Rotov's topic?



 Posted: Tue May 15th, 2012 02:16 pm
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CleburneFan
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Barlow wrote:
I wonder what General Lew Wallace would think of Rotov's topic?

And Longstreet on Day Two at Gettysburg.



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