Monday, May 16, 2011

Zouaves Before the Battle

Greetings Cosmic Americans!

I thought it would be nice to get a little military action in this morning - so here, courtesy of this company of Woodland Hills Zouaves - California Regiment, for lack of a proper unit designation, is an example of some first rate drilling.

You know, drilling is something that occupied a great deal of a soldier's time. Big battles, especially in the first two years of the war, were seldom. In short, Civil War soldiers spent a lot of time in camp - perfecting the art of killing.

One of my favorite soldier accounts of the war, Elisha Hunt Rhodes's All For the Union, discusses drilling and camp life at length...reading Rhodes, one might suspect that life in the army was actually pretty boring - only punctuated by fierce combat.

But it is here that we discover what military life was like - where we discover the insights of a Union soldier on Union, emancipation, secession, and religion. Coupled with scholarly accounts of Civil War soldiery, such as James McPherson's For Cause and Comrades, such writings are an invaluable resource. But if asked (and I often am), I would recommend a soldier account to get anyone started, and then offer what scholars think in comparison.


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