I really enjoyed this book. It really kept me interested with all the details he gave about the war and everything that happened during his time. You do have to keep in mind that this is written 20 years after the war so some of the information my not be a 100% correct but it seems that he recalls a lot of his memories with accuracy and detail.
It’s interesting to me that the Union thought they could just walk right into the south and whip the confederates back to there homes. This was not the case as you can see in the book. In the beginning of the book the Confederacy won a considerable amount of the battles. The Union was caught off guard. During the war the veterans had a very hard time, just like those of the Revolution. They were giving a good amount of clothes and blankets at the beginning of the war. As the war became longer then they expected the clothes and blankets started to disappear. Many of the troops were freezing in the winters. On pg.23 He talks about how 11 men were frozen solid while on guard.
The carnage of this war was never seen before. There were so many men dead, dieing, and wounded soldiers on the field after the battle. On top of that you have dead horses everywhere and broken down carts and batteries. Many men would eventually inflict injuries on themselves to stay out of the fight. You see this on pg.25.
Just like we saw with the Revolution this was a “rich mans war, poor man’s fight.” Pg.32. I forget the exact number but the confederacy passed a law saying if you owned like 8 slaves you could go home and not have to fight anymore. Many men who fought out there term of enlistment were not allowed to leave the army. If they left without permission and found, they were shot for desertion (pg.35). At points the moral of the Confederacy was so low that General Bragg had to put 1/10 of the Army behind the main force and if anyone was running away from the fight, they would be shot. In General Braggs army you here the shots of muskets almost every day because of all the court martials.
The Confederacy had a lack of rations on many occasions. This led the men to raid peoples home and to take the publics livestock. This made the Confederates very unpopular with most of the public. Some people would be very happy to help fed the army. The rations had to go through many men and by the time that they got to the privates, there was almost nothing left for them to eat. At the battle of Chattanooga, while they were on retreat. The Confederates were ordered to burn everything. They had to burn a ton of food so the Union didn’t get any. The men were appalled by this because they had been starving for so long and they had this stockpile of food all along and now they had to burn it.
Overall I find that the life of a confederate solider in the American civil war was very harsh. With the lack of food and the lack of adequate soldiers, they were both starving and freezing. They were paid but that money would be inadequate in a couple of years when they lost the war. They would not receive pensions after the war either. Its not good to fight for the losing side.