Download America goes to war by Bruce Catton PDF

By Bruce Catton

A desirable learn of the 1st smooth conflict and its impression on American tradition.

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If the assaulting column had a proper numerical advantage, plus enough discipline and leadership to keep it moving forward despite losses, it was very likely to succeed. The assaulting column always went in with fixed bayonets, because any charge that was really driven home would wind up with hand-to-hand fighting. And if the assailants could get to close quarters with a fair advantage in numbers, either the actual use of the bayonet or the terrible threat of it would finish the business. Artillery, properly massed, might change the picture.

The weapon's effective range, of course, was a good deal less than that, but an infantry line could still inflict destructive Page 18 fire on its opponents at two or three times the distance that was possible with the old smoothbore. A decisive engagement could, and often did, take place with the opposing lines more than a quarter of a mile apart. At Antietam, according to an account written after the war, a veteran in the Army of the Potomac said that his unit and a Confederate unit got into action at close quarters; and this, he wrote reflectively, was one of the few battles in all the war in which he actually saw his enemies.

In any case, the government in 1861 commissioned many highly unmilitary people as generals and it gave them some pretty consequential commands. What did it get out of all of this?  . and of course the one and only Ben Butler. There is no denying that some of these men turned out to be utterly incompetent soldiers. Is saying that the same thing, however, as saying that the Lincoln administration made a terrible mistake in commissioning them? I do not think it is. Fremont and Sigel and Butler would handicap any army, of course.

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