For Cause And Comrades By James M. Mcpherson

1705 WordsNov 18, 20167 Pages
James M. McPherson, author of For Cause and Comrades, uses more than 25,000 unaltered letters and closely 250 private journals from Civil War soldiers—both Union and Confederate—in his attempt to explain what possessed these men to endure the roaring, gruesome chaos of war. What better way to express the motivation behind fighting than words straight from the pens of the men who were physically there and experienced the Civil War to its fullest? I personally feel as though McPherson succeeded in his explanation of the different driving forces that kept each man going during these difficult years of battle. The Wall Street Journal describes McPherson’s work as “an extraordinary book, full of fascinating details and moving self-portraits.” “Duty and honor were indeed powerful motivating forces.” (p. 5) Honor is defined as “respect that is given to someone who is admired” by Merriam Webster’s Dictionary. Many of the men who enlisted during the Civil War were driven by the desire to uphold their honor and/or their family honor. Because honor was essentially a masculine concept, the wives and mothers of soldiers did not understand how this desire for bringing honor to one’s name was more important than a man’s duty to his family. A South Carolina planter and thirty-nine year old father of several daughters chose to enlist after the Union capture of the South Carolina sea islands in 1861. He attempted to explain the driving force behind his decision to enlist: “The honor of our
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