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West Pointers and the Civil War: The Old Army in War and Peace (review)

West Pointers and the Civil War: The Old Army in War and Peace (review) both sides interpret every up and down in the confl ict according to what they determined to be the will of Providence (110). Instead of off ering sweeping arguments or theses, this deeply researched book proceeds slowly, patiently accumulating stories and refl ections from the actors of the period. This is not Skip Stout’s “moral history of the Civil War,” in which self-righteous rhetoric simply fueled killing. It is not the “American apocalypse” of Yankee Protestants studied by James Moorhead, and it is not a story of Americans “baptized in blood” as later Lost Cause mythology had it. Rable shows that Christ was in the camps, but he had to compete with cards, prostitutes, alcohol, and bitter skepticism and irony increasingly evidenced among many boys in blue and gray. Churchgoers at home had great faith that the virtue of their boys would yield success, while those boys quickly found out that piety was connected only randomly with the outcome of any particular battle. Confederates felt this especially in the last two years of the war, when the more piety they evinced, the more battles they lost. The weakness of this powerful work is that Rable concludes that African Americans http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of the Civil War Era University of North Carolina Press

West Pointers and the Civil War: The Old Army in War and Peace (review)

The Journal of the Civil War Era , Volume 1 (4) – Nov 17, 2011

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright @ The University of North Carolina Press
ISSN
2159-9807

Abstract

both sides interpret every up and down in the confl ict according to what they determined to be the will of Providence (110). Instead of off ering sweeping arguments or theses, this deeply researched book proceeds slowly, patiently accumulating stories and refl ections from the actors of the period. This is not Skip Stout’s “moral history of the Civil War,” in which self-righteous rhetoric simply fueled killing. It is not the “American apocalypse” of Yankee Protestants studied by James Moorhead, and it is not a story of Americans “baptized in blood” as later Lost Cause mythology had it. Rable shows that Christ was in the camps, but he had to compete with cards, prostitutes, alcohol, and bitter skepticism and irony increasingly evidenced among many boys in blue and gray. Churchgoers at home had great faith that the virtue of their boys would yield success, while those boys quickly found out that piety was connected only randomly with the outcome of any particular battle. Confederates felt this especially in the last two years of the war, when the more piety they evinced, the more battles they lost. The weakness of this powerful work is that Rable concludes that African Americans

Journal

The Journal of the Civil War EraUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Nov 17, 2011

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