Essay on What They Fought For 1861-1865

701 Words Jul 4th, 2015 3 Pages
What They Fought For 1861-1865. By, James M McPherson. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1994. Introduction, Chapters One – Three. $11.99. Paperback.)
James McPherson’s What They Fought For shows readers an inside look of what Civil War soldiers experienced on the frontline. McPherson does this by using diary and handwritten letters soldiers would send home. “The principle sources for that book, and this one, are the personal letters and diaries written by soldiers during their war experience.” (1). McPherson states his reasoning for using such sources because they offer “unparalleled richness and candor- richness because Civil War armies were the most literate in all history to that time and the letters of their soldiers have been preserved in matchless abundance for historians to read; candor because unlike modern armies, those of the Civil War did not discourage diary keeping or subject soldiers’ letters to censorship.” (1). McPherson’s main point for his book is to show case what the soldiers believed they were fighting for and their experience such as, male bonding concept of duty and how they coped with their emotions on the frontline. McPherson displays the side of the southern Confederate armies in chapter one, who compared the Civil War to the Revolutionary War. The Confederates who saw the Northern Yankees as nothing more than tyrants. A young Virginian officer’s letters stated this belief “confident that the Confederacy would win this “second War…

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