Analysis Of J. Tracy Power 's Lee 's Miserables

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One of the most prominent armies of the civil war the Army of Northern Virginia is one of the most commonly analyzed aspects of the confederacy. In J. Tracy Power’s Lee’s Miserables, Power evaluates the mindset of the soldiers by following their correspondence to family members as well as their use of diaries. The book is designed to demonstrate the psychological changes of the soldiers from The Battles of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania to the eventual surrender of the army at Appomattox. Power effectively describes the spectrum of physiological states exhibited by the soldier while maintaining a theme of respect for the generalship of Robert E. Lee. While the work exhibits countless examples that become repetitive, the sentiments of the…show more content…
Power effectively captures their feelings by supplying the reader with an abundance of quotes that contain complaints over the quality and quantity of rations. One in particular complains of, “pickled beef,” which he said could just as easily be dog instead of beef (258). During this siege the once confident Army of Northern Virginia no longer predicted a quick end of the war. The soldiers echoed an uncertainty for when the war would end while expressing a desire for it to be soon. Power depicts a descriptive picture of the life of the soldier by referencing the numerous hardships including extended periods in the trenches as well as long periods without fresh clothes. Many of the soldiers complained of having tattered and worn-down clothing and expressed strong desires for new clothing. Power further captures their desire by noting opinion of the inspector general of the army who believed that “the small rations and inadequate supply of clothing is doubtless promoting desertion among the men” (224). Perhaps one of the must detrimental occurrences in the Army of Northern Virginia was the act of desertion. As the siege of Petersburg and Richmond extended into the winter of 1864 and 1865 the physical hardships, re-election of Lincoln, as well as news of Sherman’s march caused many soldiers to desert. The combination of these discouraging events led to desertion rates of up

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