Two Great Rebel Armies: An Essay in Confederate Military History

By Richard M. McMurry | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SIX
Officers and Enlisted Men

All through the first year of the war military units from the other Confederate states poured into Virginia and Tennessee. Once arrived on the Confederacy's northern frontier, these troops joined with the units of Lee's and Pillow's forces to form the two major armies of the South. After these two armies came into existence, it quickly became obvious that they were differentiated by factors other than their history.

Common sense, politics, geography, and logistics all combined to dictate that the Confederate authorities usually sent a unit to serve with a military force close to its home. To send Texas units to defend the North Carolina coast and rush Tarheel troops west to protect the frontier against Indians would have placed an unnecessary burden on the South's fragile transportation system and subjected government officials to well-founded criticism for waste, inefficiency, and needlessly separating soldiers from their home folk. In some cases, moreover, such a policy would also have exposed many troops unnecessarily to a climate to which they were not accustomed and to diseases against which they had no immunity.

The decision to assign most troops to armies close to their homes was, therefore, rational, but it had the incidental side effect of making the Army of Tennessee a western army and the Army of Northern Virginia an eastern army. In so doing, the decision contributed in two ways to the different fates of the two great Rebel armies.

The East-West differences can easily be seen by examining the organization of the two armies at several dates during the war. (For purposes of this analysis, the states and the military units from them are classified into the same groups that were used for

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Two Great Rebel Armies: An Essay in Confederate Military History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Chapter One - Two Great Armies 1
  • Chapter Two - Some Basic Factors 10
  • Chapter Three - the Yankee Influence 30
  • Chapter Four - Confederate Contributions 56
  • Chapter Five - History's Role 74
  • Chapter Six - Officers and Enlisted Men 87
  • Chapter Seven - the General Officers 106
  • Chapter Eight the Commanding Generals 118
  • Chapter Nine Historians and Generals 140
  • Appendix Known Antebellum Military Experience of Confederate Generals 157
  • Notes 167
  • Bibliography 181
  • Index 189
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