among the private soldiers.
‘Trading and “swapping” between the pickets and between the lines became so prevalent before the war closed as to cause no comment and attract no special attention.’
General John B. Gordon
declares, ‘I should, perhaps, not exaggerate the number or importance of these evidences if I said that there were thousands of them which are perhaps the brightest illustrations and truest indices of the American
This spirit was not confined to the army.
It represented the temper of a whole people.
At the close of hostilities the South
might very easily have been converted into another Ireland
But no confiscations of conquered territory, no execution of prominent leaders ensued upon the downfall of the Confederacy
Reconstruction, it is true, was accompanied by a plundering of the already wrecked Southern resources.
But this was not so much the result of malice or political vindictiveness as of the wave of corruption that was then inundating the Nation.
The people of New York city during the same decade were contributing some seventy million dollars to support the leadership of ‘Boss’ Tweed
Whatever bitterness post-bellum politics did arouse in the South
has proved transitory.
Since that unhappy period there has been a continually deepening sense of nationality, accompanied by a constant fading of sectional antagonism.
It must not be supposed, however, that the literature of the Civil War
invariably expresses a spirit of brotherhood.
During the conflict itself there was a ceaseless effusion of poetry and eloquence which served an exactly opposite purpose.
A favorite method of instilling troops with patriotism was to proclaim loudly the cowardice of their opponents.
There were also gleeful threats of suspending conspicuous leaders from sour-apple trees and malicious attributing of wholesale mendacity to the Presidents
of the opposing Governments.
During the progress of the war such fiery ebullitions were enormously popular.
Dozens of collections, such as the Touch the Elbow Songster,
with three grim-looking volunteers