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Civil War - Essay Example

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This is a document analysis essay and the topic of focus is American Civil War. The analysis will involve reading six letters written by soldiers in the battle field during the Civil War. …
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Download file to see previous pages The Civil War took place in the years 1861 through 1865. The parties involved were the United States of America (USA) and Confederate States of America. USA or the Union forces were led by President Abraham Lincoln, who is credited for abolition of slavery in the country. According to Divine et al, the victory of the Union forces in the Civil War helped to maintain territorial integrity, abolished slavery, and initiated a lengthy process of post-war reconstruction that ultimately shaped up the present day USA with a strong federal form of governance. Moreover, according to Sprague (a soldier of the Union forces), USA actually wanted to enthrall “the great principals of the human freedom and free labour”. These principals remain at the heart of the American nationhood even today. Thesis Statement: Based on my reading of these letters I argue that the American experience during the Civil War was characterized by sincere patriotism even in most miserable conditions of military camps and general hardships. Brief Summary of Each Source The documents that have been chosen for analysis are six letters written to Juliana Reynolds between the years 1862 and 1864, when the Civil War was at its height. The summary of each source is being given below: 1. Letter from Hiram P. Sprague to Juliana Reynolds, Feb 22, 1862 (Camp Jameson): Sprague was Reynolds’ cousin and he was writing from the battle field. In the letter, he first describes the difficulties he was facing in the military camp. Then he writes about Tilton, who was Reynolds’ beloved son. Next he writes about the progress of the Union forces. He further furnishes a vivid description of the land and vegetation of the Southern states. 2. Letter from John S. Smith to Juliana Reynolds, Apr 20, 1862 (Camp near Yorktown): Reynolds was Smith’s sister, and this letter shows how guilty Smith felt for not being able to write to her in proper time. Moreover, he describes the situation of the front with great enthusiasm. He further writes, “Our pickets and the rebels pickets are so close to each other in places that they can converse with each other.” Then he writes about Tilton and certain changes in the contemporary postal services for the military personnel. 3. Letter from Hiram P. Sprague to Juliana Reynolds, May 24, 1862 (Camp advanced on to Richmond): This letter extensively describes the contemporary situation of the rebel Southern states long with military progress of the Union forces. Sprague also writes on his worries about the fact that the war might linger, otherwise “why does the president Call out fifty thousand more troops?” This letter clearly exhibits the discomfort of a soldier at different high level government actions. 4. Letter from John S. Smith to Juliana Reynolds, Jul 22, 1862 (Camp near Harrisons Landing): In this letter, Smith informs his sister that he had been posted in a hospital. He faced tremendous pressure of work in his new engagement. He also appeared to be doubtful about USA’s success in the war. The letter is an evidence of the fact that the war situation had become rather complicated by the mid 1862. 5. Letter from J.B. McCracken to Juliana Reynolds, Aug 6, 1863 (Camp Parole): McCracken was Reynolds’ friend, and he wrote very anxiously about the war. He wrote about the risks and sufferings of the army. The letter can be used to prove that the Union forces were suffering a lot during those years. 6. Letter from John Conser to Juliana Reynolds, Sep 5, 1864 (Camp near Petersburg): Conser was another cousin of Reynolds. In this letter too, the writer expresses deep concerns about the lingering war. However, he also writes about the successes of the Union forces and surmounting pressure on the rebels. Key Themes that ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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