Gods and Generals Essay examples

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Gods and Generals The American Civil War was a military conflict between the United States of America (the Union), and 11 secessionist Southern states, organized as the Confederate States of America (the Confederacy). It was the culmination of four decades of intense sectional conflict and it reflected deep-seated economic, social, and political differences between the North and the South. Many books have been written on this “first modern war” describing how over 620,000 men were killed. Jeff Shaara goes deeper and explores the personal conflicts of four historical figures, two from the South and two from North: General Lee, General Jackson, Colonel Chamberlain, and Hancock.

Robert E. Lee’s story began with a dilemma; he had to
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135) This describes Major Jackson’s general attitude towards war and towards God. Jackson is extremely pious and does all he can to please God and to follow His path. Newspaper coverage of his battles quickly publicized him and the title Hero was given to Jackson. Throughout the war, Jackson shows dedication, going beyond his orders and chasing away his enemies. He also shows an immense concern for his troops, he “had seen the bare feet, the bloody impressions, and he felt a deep pain, a sadness.” (Pg. 289) His men were shabby compared to the forces of Hancock and Chamberlain.

Winfield Scott Hancock, named after General Winfield Scott, has the talent of making himself “indispensable in any assignment he is given...” (Pg. 5) Due to this talent, he is the best suited to take the role of Quartermaster. After various locations, he is transferred to California, where his story begins. Like Lee, he feels he belongs on the battlefield, and not in an office. Hancock visits General McClellan and is told, “We need leaders, Mr. Hancock. I believe that includes you.” (Pg. 160) And so, his duty is now assigned.

One of the many patriots, Joshua Chamberlain enlisted in the Union Army to defend his country. It is ironic because “he had never enjoyed shooting anything...” (Pg. 36) and yet he is willing to kill in pride for his country. A teacher Bowdoin, he receives high recommendations to the army, and Governor Washburn offers
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