James McPherson makes it his aim to eradicate the misconceptions the average American has conceived over why soldiers decidedly fought during the Civil War. After reading hundreds of diaries written by both Unionists and Confederates, McPherson arranges their beliefs and sentiments in a strategic manner to essentially rewrite history and tell a narrative of what these soldiers underwent during the war. Although he lacks his own voice in the midst of speaking for others, McPherson persuasively addresses the ideologies held by the various soldiers, thus, conceiving a new view on what truly occurred in the minds of these Civil War soldiers. He does so all the while introducing to his audience what these men may have fought for.
Confederate soldiers fought for their relevance. They sought to maintain that “the Yankees” did not encroach upon their land and steal from them their property. They dared to fight what they believed was oppression from the North and retaliated with the willingness to die for their cause. “Sink or swim, survive or perish, I will fight in defence of my country” (McPherson, 11). During the first few years of the Civil War, a majority of these soldiers fought for “all that (was) dear and sacred” (McPherson, 18) to them. McPherson closely gathers the similar beliefs and morals held by soldiers and arranges them to where they strengthen each other and instill in the reader the notion that many soldiers in the Confederate army struggled to fight for their homeland. As the war progresses, he strategically arranges similar ideas in the same manner. He gradually takes his readers on a journey with him as the war changes the ideologies the soldiers.
To the Confederate soldiers, the Civil War became grounds for achieving vengeance against any, and all Northerners. These soldiers seem to lose themselves as they bitterly mentioned the joys that came with viewing their enemies’ dead. They “have invaded our country and devastated...
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