Would these words have less meaning if they had been attributed to a Southern soldier? We’re talking of a period in time we, ourselves, cannot compare anything in our life to. The soldiers on both sides were not so far down the line from their Grandfathers or Fathers who may have been a part of the formation of the country. It’s understandable, at least to me, from both points of view. A Union soldier was in that Army because he wanted to be or was told to be. I doubt they disagreed with this statement though. But, once in the Army, they had little say over where they went or what they would do. Sometimes the greenest private could see there may be a problem but they had to follow the big General’s orders anyway. That is what I meant. They follow orders. The Generals and other Officers give the orders.
Had that been said or written by a Southern soldier, well it could apply too. They may have felt things were not as they believed their Grandfather or Father fought for them to be they’d take another stab at their method to solve the problem. The similarity was, they had no say in where they went or what they did. Southern Generals and Officers gave them their marching orders.
The individual story for any soldier, South or North was one of service and hardship. Some had more hardship than others. It’s not the individual soldier who is at fault or takes the trophy home. They just fall in and do what they are told to do. The Leadership of either Army is not telling them what to say. They are ordering them to march or fight. Maybe an occasional ‘fall back’ but any one of the individual soldiers were ‘following orders’. One Army trying to keep a government and all of its property intact. The other, trying to form a newer government that fit their ideals. Neither was all right and neither was all wrong. It just was.
[“One of the reasons I think you're wrong is your suggestion that Northern officers and men were made to say certain things. I don't believe that for one minute. Maybe I can draw an analogy. You've seen all those people who wear Alabama T-shirts and hounds-tooth hats and wave boxes of Tide boxes on a stick at football games. Do you believe someone made them act that way?”]
I’m sorry, ain’t nobody gonna put a roll of toilet paper or a Tide box on a stick and be seen with it because they‘re told to. That’s just wrong headed. Maybe some dumb Fraternity ritual is about the only way anyone could be ‘made’ to do it.
I never said they made them say anything but they did order them to march and fight. Please tell me where it looks as if I did. I was talking about a Union officer getting an Amen from folks who were in the Union. Sort of like a stacked deck. He wasn’t going to get any boo’s even if he was sort of sent packing.