Featured The CW-Why We Care

rhettbutler1865

Colonel, CSA Cavalry
Joined
Feb 18, 2015
It has been said the ACW is the most researched, debated, and analyzed war in history. Why do we HERE on this forum, not to mention millions of civil war "buffs" around the world, "love" it so much? Some for the broader picture of the times and such a devastating war; some for specifics (from politics to weaponry to battle strategy and even food eaten) and everything in between.

A "waitperson" at the Dobbin House" along with several others I spoke with on my last Gettysburg visit, said she knew she belonged in Gettysburg--something drew her to move there. I have the same "feeling", have since I was 8, that I, too had fought there...Lots of you have ancestors who fought and/or died in this war. At the end of many conversations in my experience, always is it asked---"Why your interest...when did it start?"

I don't think I'm alone in wondering why WE HERE have thirsted for and absorbed so much knowledge about the CW. Why are YOU here?! By the way, I use capital letters because I can't italicize --don't mean at all to sound menacing--quite the contrary. Thanks.
 
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Tom Elmore

2nd Lieutenant
Member of the Year
Joined
Jan 16, 2015
In late July 1963, I was approaching the age of eight years when my parents first took me to Gettysburg, and I have been hooked ever since; at age 13 I began to study the campaign seriously. Over 45 years later, I still learn something new and interesting about the conflict nearly every day. It is an inexhaustible topic, which still resonates after 150 years, and it is a wonderful hobby that can keep one mentally active and engaged at every stage along life's journey.
 

MRB1863

Major
Forum Host
Joined
Dec 6, 2014
Location
Lemoyne, PA (35 miles N. of Gettysburg)
Both MrsMRB and I have been fascinated in the Civil War for many, many years. We also feel very much "at home" when visiting Gettysburg. Were we there in a past life? Would be interesting to be able to digress to learn more. Some parts of the battlefield peak an un-explainable emotion and feeling much more than others. While there are some folks that think this may be bunk, the many who share the sensitivity know better.
 

hanna260

Sergeant Major
Joined
Mar 1, 2015
Location
Just Around the Riverbend
I'm sure there is a thread about this somewhere and some very nice member will direct you to it. :smile:

But why are we here? I can't speak for others but I can give my (edit: very long-winded) answer. I'm here because the Killer Angels was a haunting and powerful book that despite being 11 I couldn't get out of my mind. I'm here because when I got a little bit older, I wanted to see whether or not the novel proclaiming that Stuart was "joy-riding" was really correct. :wink: I'm here because Shelby Foote and Bruce Catton can make history seem like a story. I'm here because making fun of Gods and Generals is a great balm for watching it. :smile:

I'm here because of the black men and women who fought and died for their freedom and who lived through a horrendous situation that I just can't imagine. I'm here for Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, and all the other incredibly courageous people. I'm here because their legacy continues today.

I'm here because Sherman may be the single most quotable human being ever. I'm here because Frederick Douglas and Angelina Grimke were just so inspirational- and they remind me daily that whatever obstacles are placed in my path, people have overcome far worse to fly with the stars. I'm here because I can't imagine that young men charged across a field despite knowing that tomorrow they could be in the cold ground or lying in agony. I'm here because as Faraway Friend said on another thread, whenever I feel cold or hungry, I just think of those men. I'm here because sometimes I hope to walk the fields of Shiloh and listen hard to see if I can hear any long-dead bullets.

I'm here because I can't breathe when I hear about these mobs of starving women desperately rioting for bread- any bread- for they were starving and their families were dying. I'm here because Lincoln summarized the Union in a perfect two minute speech and I'm here because Grant's year long struggle with cancer makes him a hero in my book and I'm here because my heart wrenches when Lee paced desperately wanting to know whether or not he would stay in the Union and strike a hand against Virginia and I'm here because JEB Stuart makes me want to "jine" the cavalry.

I'm here because this was a period in our nation that was so great and terrible, beautiful, and devastating, when men and women took their destinies in their own hands and whether or not we like or agree with them- we have to respect that.

....

Oh, you guys may factor a little bit on why I'm here too. :wink:

Edit: No, no I don't have a life. And yes, yes I like making long-winded sermons as replies to simple questions. Why do you ask? :smile:
 
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Caswell Ranger

Corporal
Joined
Jul 27, 2011
Location
Virginia
As I have stated before when I was in school in 1960 I was able to meet Bruce Cotton and I have been hooked ever since.
Bruce Cotton, I like that. You may have started something. "Yuh must have been reading that Bruce Cotton guy."

The Catton books I read did not seem to hold much respect for the southerners and I had a few bitter arguments with Catton fans who took him for the gospel and it was sacrilege to disagree with him. Beg to be corrected and find Catton had some good words about the south.

Dang, nearly spit my drink on the keyboard, chuckle.
 
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James N.

Colonel
Forum Host
Annual Winner
Featured Book Reviewer
Joined
Feb 23, 2013
Location
East Texas
The Catton books I read did not seem to hold much respect for the southerners and I had a few bitter arguments with Catton fans who took him for the gospel and it was sacrilege to disagree with him. Beg to be corrected and find Catton had some good words about the south.

Other than the simplistic and rather novelistic Landmark titles for juvenile readers Gettysburg, Robert E. Lee and the Road of Honor, Lee and Grant at Appomattox, Stonewall Jackson, and Custer's Last Stand in the 1950's, I "cut my teeth" in more serious Civil War reading on the books of Bruce Catton when I was in high school and college in the 1960's. Despite his being a Michigander, and writing from an avowedly Northern perspective ( after all, it wasn't the Army of Northern Virginia Trilogy ), I've managed to maintain my Southern heritage and perspective unscathed. Besides, in the 1950's there was simply NO one else writing about the battles and campaigns of the War, at least not in so accessible and readable a manner. ( Shelby Foote wrote his trilogy later during and for the Centennial. ) Catton finally wound up with three very important trilogies: The Army of the Potomac, The Centennial History of the Civil War, and the final two books in the U. S. Grant biography begun by Lloyd Lewis. I finally got around to reading the Centennial History only in the 1990's after owning it for thirty years, and found it to be quite eye-opening and persuasive as to just how foolish and unnecessary the actions of the Fire-Eaters had been!

Although Catton's works were obviously very influential to me personally, particularly his narrative for the 1960 American Heritage Picture History of the Civil War, I was already "hooked" by the Landmark books, movies, and TV, so Catton and others found "fertile ground" with me, as I have related in threads here before.
 
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Blessmag

Captain
Joined
Jun 19, 2010
Location
Minnesota
My reasons have ebbed and flowed over time. Current was to research family member that NO one talks about and that era of history. Perhaps no one knew or perhaps buried that history. I dug it up and saved for the next generations.

And to be admitting something, when you work in an academic world and 'everyone' knows it all, or thinks they do, it is nice to be THE expert in a field they have not studied!!! This building and its employees KNOW I am the resident CE buff. Me bragging, you bet! Most barely know there was a Civil War. Yeah they know Lincoln, and Gettysburg but much beyond that...hmmmf. It was a great moment for me when I asked a bunch of them a trivia question and none knew. But ask them a theology topic and they are all experts and let you know it. The question was tricky too:

What American general rerouted the Mississippi River near St. Louis?
 

James N.

Colonel
Forum Host
Annual Winner
Featured Book Reviewer
Joined
Feb 23, 2013
Location
East Texas
...What American general rerouted the Mississippi River near St. Louis?

Sounds like something Eads should've done, or at least helped with - How about John Pope, or maybe Charles Stone - I know he was an engineer!
 

nitrofd

Retired User
Joined
Jan 20, 2013
Location
north central florida
Bruce Cotton, I like that. You may have started something. "Yuh must have been reading that Bruce Cotton guy."

The Catton books I read did not seem to hold much respect for the southerners and I had a few bitter arguments with Catton fans who took him for the gospel and it was sacrilege to disagree with him. Beg to be corrected and find Catton had some good words about the south.

Dang, nearly spit my drink on the keyboard, chuckle.
After meeting and reading Catton, my aunt whose husband was a professor at Columbia started getting me Allen Nevins 8 volume classic Ordeal of the Union.Between Catton and Nevins I was really slammed with a pro northern slant on the ACW.But that was nearly 50 years ago and I am a big fan of the Army of Tennessee and the war in the west.
 

theoldman

First Sergeant
Joined
Apr 22, 2013
Location
upper mid-west
In the olden days before Interstates everyone traveled on two lane highways. Hard to believe, I know. One benefit of the old highway system was that historical markers were placed right along the highway with space to pull in and stop, but usually not enough space to get out. My parents were really great and stopped at almost every historical marker we came to and read it to me. Some of my earliest memories were on old US 2 crossing the northern tier of the country. We stopped at markers dealing with the Lewis and Clark expedition. Later when my dad was assigned to Fort Benning, Jawga, we passed through the Chickamauga Battlefield. I asked the simple question of who was fighting there. When my parents told me it was Americans from the South fighting Americans from the North, I was intrigued. That lead me to read Bruce Catton. Since then I my interest has ebbed and flowed but has always been there and now we are here today.
Why? It was fought here on our turf. It was not that long ago. And it was us against ...us. Feelings run deep even today.

Rhett,
Congratulations on your promotion to sergeant. If you want to use italic letters just look at the tool bar at the top of your post and the second letter in is "I". That is it. B is for bold..........and so forth.:smile coffee:
 

theoldman

First Sergeant
Joined
Apr 22, 2013
Location
upper mid-west
My reasons have ebbed and flowed over time. Current was to research family member that NO one talks about and that era of history. Perhaps no one knew or perhaps buried that history. I dug it up and saved for the next generations.

And to be admitting something, when you work in an academic world and 'everyone' knows it all, or thinks they do, it is nice to be THE expert in a field they have not studied!!! This building and its employees KNOW I am the resident CE buff. Me bragging, you bet! Most barely know there was a Civil War. Yeah they know Lincoln, and Gettysburg but much beyond that...hmmmf. It was a great moment for me when I asked a bunch of them a trivia question and none knew. But ask them a theology topic and they are all experts and let you know it. The question was tricky too:

What American general rerouted the Mississippi River near St. Louis?
Lee??
 

rhettbutler1865

Colonel, CSA Cavalry
Joined
Feb 18, 2015
In the olden days before Interstates everyone traveled on two lane highways. Hard to believe, I know. One benefit of the old highway system was that historical markers were placed right along the highway with space to pull in and stop, but usually not enough space to get out. My parents were really great and stopped at almost every historical marker we came to and read it to me. Some of my earliest memories were on old US 2 crossing the northern tier of the country. We stopped at markers dealing with the Lewis and Clark expedition. Later when my dad was assigned to Fort Benning, Jawga, we passed through the Chickamauga Battlefield. I asked the simple question of who was fighting there. When my parents told me it was Americans from the South fighting Americans from the North, I was intrigued. That lead me to read Bruce Catton. Since then I my interest has ebbed and flowed but has always been there and now we are here today.
Why? It was fought here on our turf. It was not that long ago. And it was us against ...us. Feelings run deep even today.

Rhett,
Congratulations on your promotion to sergeant. If you want to use italic letters just look at the tool bar at the top of your post and the second letter in is "I". That is it. B is for bold..........and so forth.:smile coffee:
Thank you very much--I appreciate that! I'll try...
 

cash

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Right here.
It has been said the ACW is the most researched, debated, and analyzed war in history. Why do we HERE on this forum, not to mention millions of civil war "buffs" around the world, "love" it so much? Some for the broader picture of the times and such a devastating war; some for specifics (from politics to weaponry to battle strategy and even food eaten) and everything in between. A "waitperson" at the Dobbin House" along with several others I spoke with on my last Gettysburg visit, said she knew she belonged in Gettysburg--something drew her to move there. I have the same "feeling", have since I was 8, that I, too had fought there...Lots of you have ancestors who fought and/or died in this war. At the end of many conversations in my experience, always is it asked---"Why your interest...when did it start?" I don't think I'm alone in wondering why WE HERE have thirsted for and absorbed so much knowledge about the CW. Why are YOU here?! By the way, I use capital letters because I can't italicize --don't mean at all to sound menacing--quite the contrary. Thanks.

I answered on another thread.

There are three ways to italicize.

1. Use the "I" button at the top to start italicizing and when you're done, click on it again to turn off italicizing.
2. Use Control I to start and another Control I to stop.
3. Put an "i" in brackets [ ] to start and "/i" in brackets [ ] to stop.
 

CMWinkler

Colonel
Forum Host
Retired Moderator
Joined
Oct 17, 2012
Location
Middle Tennessee
My great grandmother used to talk about her father during the war and his activities in the GAR, in part raising the statue on the square in beautiful Bloomington, Indiana. My grandmother would take me to Rose Hill Cemetery about 10 blocks from her house to see family graves. The cemetery includes several prominent monuments to Civil War veterans that were fascinating.

My interest in the war grew from that.
 

James N.

Colonel
Forum Host
Annual Winner
Featured Book Reviewer
Joined
Feb 23, 2013
Location
East Texas
I answered on another thread.

There are three ways to italicize.

1. Use the "I" button at the top to start italicizing and when you're done, click on it again to turn off italicizing.
2. Use Control I to start and another Control I to stop.
3. Put an "i" in brackets [ ] to start and "/i" in brackets [ ] to stop.

I often highlight book & movie titles, etc. then click on the I and presto - they're italicized!
 

rhettbutler1865

Colonel, CSA Cavalry
Joined
Feb 18, 2015
My great grandmother used to talk about her father during the war and his activities in the GAR, in part raising the statue on the square in beautiful Bloomington, Indiana. My grandmother would take me to Rose Hill Cemetery about 10 blocks from her house to see family graves. The cemetery includes several prominent monuments to Civil War veterans that were fascinating.

My interest in the war grew from that.
I love it! Thanks!
 

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