Ashokan Farewell

That’s the theme song of the Civil War documentary which I’ve been watching this week.  As I watch it, I am struck by the problem the generals faced suiting their tactics to the realities they were facing.  Bayonet warfare against rifles.  The birth of trenches.  Sherman’s total war, which got him cashiered at the start of things, which would have ended things much sooner.  Though if things had ended sooner, slavery would not have been abolished.

What also strikes me is the confusion over what they were fighting over… union or emancipation?  If we look at maintenance as a conflict, are we seeking vanity or health?  Youthfulness or life?  Do we wait, as Mclellan did, for the fight we know we can win?  Do we love our troops too much to risk them, or do we love that for which they fight?  Do we love freedom?  Freedom from blindness, freedom from heart disease, freedom from cancer?  Maybe it’s focusing too much on the negative.  I’ll take that chance.

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