One of the “great embarrassments” of the Confederate army.

The army of Sherman was now exposing one of the great embarrassments of a chivalric, apartheid society: rhetoric, costumes, polite manners, titles, and arcane traditions among a privileged elite hide weakness rather than reflect strength. An egalitarian society of freeholding citizens that can draw on all members of its population, make them feel of equal value to the cause, and sanction their brutality by a true democratic consensus, needs no emblems of ferocity because it is intrinsically ferocious, even scary in war, both numerically and qualitatively. It was no accident that on surrender Grant looked shabby, slouchy, and muddy, Lee resplendent and sworded; Sherman was rumpled, Joe Johnston dapper in his military gray; as a rule, Southern horsemen were more privileged and adroit, Union cavalry workmanlike and more numerous; Southern infantry loud, brave, and bold in their charges, Union troops usually better armed, more plentiful, and in the end far more lethal.

-Victor Davis Hanson, The Soul of Battle, p. 174.



Filed under History, Quotations

2 responses to “One of the “great embarrassments” of the Confederate army.

  1. Ernesto

    Wow, what a quote. Is the whole book written like that?

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