For Cause and Comrades Essay

Topics: American Civil War, Southern United States, Military Pages: 3 (741 words) Published: April 1, 2013
For Cause and Comrades

For Cause and Comrades by James M. McPherson consists of mostly of soldiers’ diaries and letters home as to why the men were fighting the Civil War. The initial motivation the union and confederacy sustain throughout the story proves that personal honor is valued more than their lives.

The opening chapter of the book is mostly a plot overview of the events that had yet to come. Fratricide, Meaning one that murders or kills an individual (as a countryman) having a relationship like that of a brother or sister, and Rage Military were the main themes of the opening chapters. The fact intrigued me that the Civil War so divided this country that family members would choose opposite sides of this most deadly of conflicts. “This breakup sometimes forced members of the same biological family to choose opposite sided” (McPherson 14) was a powerful point as to how divided the country really was. I agreed upon a second theme throughout the first two chapters called Rage Military, this French term used in the second chapter demonstrated to me as to why individuals may willingly go into battle.

The idea that unseasoned soldiers were ready jump into the midst of battle to face their conflicting personal beliefs proves the importance of serving with honor. “The belief in duty, honor, and country that had caused them to enlist in the first place held them to the firing line” (McPherson 36) was a point made as to why soldiers would continually move toward the battle. The title “combat narcosis” (McPherson 41) were terms used to describe the extreme effects overpowering rush combat soldiers experienced in battle and to why they would fight with such veracity.

Commanding officers needed to portray strong leadership skills by acting as examples to gain the trust and respect of these volunteer soldiers. Throughout the story the author explains some of the difficulties in adapting to a nearly all-volunteer, non-professional...
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