Civil War

Download America goes to war by Bruce Catton PDF

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By Bruce Catton

A desirable research of the 1st sleek conflict and its impression on American tradition.

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The President of the United Statesand this of course was true also of the President of the Southern Confederacymay in time of war be the commander in chief of all of the armed forces, with direct responsibility for their best use, but if he is to succeed he has to succeed as a politician. It may be useful to consider in some detail the way in which Lincoln handled himself in those shattering years of crisis. It is often remarked that Lincoln technically was very poorly prepared for his role as commander in chief.

He could not tell an outright lie to his government; in his book, that somehow was wrong. What he would do, then was this: he would take a bit of paper, scribble the number "18" on it, and put it in the sole of his shoe. " That is a tiny thing, to be sure, and yet it is not quite the sort of thing that could happen today. It reflects a characteristic of a by-gone age; it came out of an America which, I suppose, may have been no better than today's America but which did manage to be a little more innocent.

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. But would the Federal war effort have gone along faster if better men had been in their placesand if the government had never had the popular support which it won by commissioning those men? Could the war have been won if Page 40 the hard core of free-soil anti-slavery men had been alienated?

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