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Miles, Nelson Appleton, 1839-1925 / Personal recollections and observations of General Nelson A. Miles embracing a brief view of the Civil War, or, From New England to the Golden Gate: and the story of his Indian campaigns, with comments on the exploration, development and progress of our great western empire

Chapter II. The Great Civil War,   pp. 25-37 PDF (4.7 MB)

Page 37

that thunderbolt of war, " Stonewall " Jackson. All these tasks
the Army of
the Potoulac accomplished. The number and desperate character of its en-
couuters may be illustrated by the history of the single corps of that army
already mentiouued. Its personnel were largely volunteers who had been
quick to offer lip their lives for the preservation of the Union. Knowing
the value of military discipline they accepted without complaint its
extreluest requirements.  This explains the matchless fortitude displayed
)y that army through the long and trying years of the war, much of the
time suffering under reverses and disasters that would have destroyed the
111o,,w4( of any army composed of less choice material. And of the same
(4hoice material were the entire national forces composed. While heroic
sarfifices were made by the Army of the Potomac, other armies and fleets
were with similar devotion engaged in the same noble cause.
  The Army of the Union was, in fact, " The People in Arms." It
all the diversified opinions and pursuits of a free and intelligent democracy.
rI'11e force that called it together was the same spirit that had made a
"(rovernnfleut of the people" possible. Love of adventure may have
its uatural influence in stimulating enlistment, but the ranks were. never-
tlieless, largely filled with youth, who had no love for war, but who left
their hoines and the pursuits of peace that the Nation might not perish.
'I'o the large num-nber of young mren is to be attributed much of the hopeful
1)i it a 'a lways manifestedl by the army in adversity.  Though often baffled
lay (costly and disheartening reverses, though changing commanders often.
esIxecially in the east, it never lost its discipline, its high spirit, and
its con-
li(leice in final success.

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