Why did they sign up, where did they find the courage for their first battle, why did they stay after they realized that death is real and messy? Did people really fight ‘to end slavery’? How could slave-owners claim to be fighting for liberty? What did the folks back home – wives, parents, kids – think about the main bread-earner risking his life for Mr Lincoln’s War?
Is “well, everyone else was doin’ it” a good reason to sign up? Apparently it is.
Each chapter addresses another question. At least half the book is direct quotations from diaries & letters home. It was fascinating to read (and to notice the variants in spelling), especially since both sides of the war were represented and contrasted with each other.