Twenty years earlier, McPherboy and several of his Princeton history students retraced Pickett"s charge at Gettysburg, wbelow 13,000 Confedeprice males faced the withering fire of Union weapons on that warm Friday afternoon of July 3, 1863.

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What the students wanted to understand was why. This book--like its slim 1994 predecessor, What They Fought For, 1861-1865, is a engrossing and reliable answer to that question. McPherson, that won a Pulitzer Prize in 1989 for his Battle Cry of Freedom, provides data attracted from 25,000 letters and 249 diaries of more than 647 Union and also 429 Confedeprice soldiers, relying on the ""iceberg principle"" for each conclusion. ""For eextremely statement by a soldier quoted herein,"" he notes, ""at least six even more lie below the surchallenge in my notecards."" The one distinction of his sample: these men were not ""skulkers who did their best to avoid combat"" but ""those that did the real fighting."" McPherboy adds that ""while 7% of all Civil War soldiers were eliminated or mortally wounded in activity, 21% of the soldiers in the samples lost their resides."" In a brand-new democracy not then a a century old, whose citizens were primarily independent of any overreaching government, the Union and also Confedeprice militaries mobilized three million males, and just pertained to drafts and also bonsupplies in the latter stage of the war. In the weeks adhering to the strike on Ft Sumter, each side was spurred on by patriotic furor, and also each had its share of soldiers eager to ""challenge the elephant"": to recognize exactly how they would react on the area of fight. But fight lust passed away down in the challenge of fact, to be reput by more considered motivations.

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Duty and honor were powerful inducements. Confedeprice writers subscribed to the strict Southern code of honor, a term that for Northerners even more often described the requirements of conscience. This was merged through respect and also affection for the police officers and also fellow soldiers, that shared hazard and also gave assistance. Group cohesion, a sense of household, inspired a sustaining pride that was both cumulative and individual. But as the battle ongoing, attrition came to be a deadly foe of cohesion, as loss of comrades and also officers left the ""family"" bereft. ""My finest friends have fallen so rapid,"" composed one Confedeprice officer, ""that in the army I feel as if I were left alone."" McPherchild provides these letters well: they not just support his disagreements however provide the vigorously huguy aspects of are afraid, sickness, loneliness and exhaustion that make the question of motivations so emotional. ""I deserve to tell you I do not treatment around being in an additional battle,"" writes one soldier, ""yet I have actually got to stand my opportunity via all the remainder."" (Mar.)