The American Civil War: A Handbook of Literature and Research

By Robin Higham; Steven E. Woodworth | Go to book overview

population--an amount probably much greater than the losses to Federal troops. Finally, since the Federal hard-war policy is frequently said to have crippled Confederate morale, it would be valuable to see more works like William McNeill's "The Stress of War: The Confederacy and William Tecumseh Sherman during the Last Year of the Civil War" ( 1973). McNeill examines morale among Georgia soldiers and civilians in 1864-1865 and concludes that the loss of Atlanta, not Sherman's march through the state, contributed most heavily to dampening Southern spirits.

Similarly, much more could be done along the lines of Hagerman The American Civil War and the Origins of Modern Warfare ( 1988). Many aspects of this subject deserve further attention, among them the exploitation of railroad and riverine transportation, advances in military medicine, the reorganization of field artillery to mass fire more effectively, and the conflict's role as a spur to military professionalism.

The modern war thesis also merits more extended attention. Epstein Napoleon's Last Victory and the Emergence of Modern War ( 1994) should spark a fruitful debate on where this development belongs in the history of warfare. One hopes that it will also draw greater attention to crucial definitional issues. What does it mean to speak of "modern war"? Armies animated by popular sovereignty and nationalism? A marriage of such armies and industrialization? What threshold of industrialization is required? Great Britain is widely thought to have entered the industrial revolution as early as 1750; the continental powers not until the 1820s and after; the United States not until the 1870s. Clearly, one's assessment of the American Civil War as the first modern war depends on one's assessment of developments in warfare and society that reach far beyond 1861-1865.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Brinsfield John W. "The Military Ethics of General William T. Sherman: A Reassessment." Parameters 12 ( 1983): 36-48.

Catton Bruce. Terrible Swift Sword. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1963.

Doster James F. "Were the Southern Railroads Destroyed by the Civil War?" Civil War History 7 ( 1961): 310-320.

Epstein Robert M. "The Creation and Evolution of Army Corps in the American Civil War." Journal of Military History 55 ( 1991): 21-46.

-----. Napoleon's Last Victory and the Emergence of Modern War. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1994.

-----. "Patterns of Change and Continuity in Nineteenth Century Warfare." Journal of Military History 56 ( 1992): 375-388.

Freidel, Frank. "General Orders 100 and Military Government." Mississippi Valley Historical Review 32 ( 1946): 541-556.

Hartigan Richard Shelly, ed. Lieber's Code and the Law of War. Chicago: Precedent, 1983.

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