Download PDF by Bruce Catton: America goes to war

By Bruce Catton

ISBN-10: 0819560162

ISBN-13: 9780819560162

A desirable examine of the 1st glossy battle and its influence on American tradition.

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The infantryman's weapon was still spoken of as a musketmeaning a muzzle-loading smoothboreand yet, by the time the war was a year or more old, nearly all infantrymen in that war carried rifles. These, to be sure, were still muzzle-loaders, but they were very different from the ''Brown Bess" of tradition, the weapon on which all tactics and combat formations were still based. With the old smoothbore, effective rangethat is, the range at which massed infantry fire would hit often enough to be adequately damagingwas figured at just about one hundred yards.

Politics works at a high price and operates through the lowest common denominator of what exists in the hearts of the peoplewhich means the hearts of you and me. There is cowardice there, often enough, and meanness, and petty selfishness, and politics has to take them into account. Yet those same hearts contain courage and nobility and faith, and in the last analysis the good outweighs the bad. Our belief in democracy itself is nothing less than a belief that good will out-weigh the bad. We live by politics.

That much-maligned creature was worth more than he cost. If, now and then, in the guise of a Sickles, he staggers us, he makes up for it a moment later by appearing as a Joshua Chamberlain. All in all, given the conditions which existed in the 1860's, he was a character who had to be there if the war was to be won. Yet if politics was what was essentially right about the Northern conduct of the war, it was also in many ways what was wrong about it. Only up to a certain point can the flexible compromises of politics be applied to the conduct of a war.

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America goes to war by Bruce Catton

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