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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
(1896)

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


Page 25


GENERAL NELSON A. MILES.
                            CHAPTER II.
                        THE GREAT CIVIL WAR.
Qj'  QSTTION-S AT ISSUE -ELECTION OF ABRAIhAM LINCOLN - GENERAL SCOTT- OBSERVATIONS
    RiET TIlNG To THIE WARE-RAISING A COMPANY FOR TIHE UNION SERVICE -ELECTED
       \Nl) Co-lArISSIONED CAPTAIN -TAKES TIHE FIELD AS FIRST LIEUTENANT-
         )T AILED ITO STAFF DUTY -VARIOUS PROMOTIONS-TIIE SECOND ARmy
            CORPS - THE GRAND RECORD OF THE ARmy OF THE POTOMAC.
LIE great Civil War, lasting for four long years, drenched the
soil with the best blood of our people. It shadowed nearly
every household of our land with the drapery of mourning.
  The passions and prejudices engendered by the protracted
  and bitter struggle have, with the lapse of time, in a large
  measure subsided, and as the years roll on are surely though
  gradually passing away from the hearts of men. The antag-
  onistic ideas which contended so strenuously for the mastery,
             and from which were kindled the flames of conflict, are now
better understood, are more clearly harmonized by a mutual yielding of
xtrellteme views, and their influence has less effect than ever before upon
the general welfare of the whole people.
   Th'1le claracter of that war was so extraordinary, the issue at stake
so
1l1)j)oltant anid the results, while far-reaching and beneficent to all man-
sifd, atlected so directly and especially the destiny of our great undevel-
o)e(l West, that a brief review of those issues and results would seem
a  o'i'p'lurfte b)efore proceedinig to the chief topics of this volume.
   The first und great question at issue between the contending parties
wVals whethler the republic could be dissolved by the action of one State
or
of a -iiinumber of States, or whliether it had the capacity to endure; whether,
ill f(act, it hlad thie inherent right and power of self-preservation. There
Was no (question- as to the power of the Federal Government when wielded
agaiiist foreign aggression, but both its legal right and its actual power
to
(itl 1 internal dissension and hostility  especially when such hostility
was
aL551lue(l j1,1(l supported by a State or a confederation of States were
still
to be establislhed. This question had from time to time since the forma-
ti'0i of  gox erninent absorbed the serious attention of the people, and
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