Soldier life meant boredom which was endured by every soldier during the Civil War was an arduous one at best. Away from home, usually between the ages of 18-35, meager rations and inadequate lodging, not to mention the brutality of war, all would lead to a soldier life, hellish.
The time was the mid-1800’s and modern anything was still decades away. Medicine and food were two of the most needed and absent items in a soldier’s knapsack. Regardless of what color was worn, the affects of being a soldier in the war were destructive. War was hell for these young American men and only made more difficult with the idea of fighting possibly killing another American.
The long hard marches to nowhere must have been the prelude to the severe terror encountered when the fighting occurred. The never-ending burden of soldiers needing items and the extra little things that made soldier life tolerable. Heavy is a great word for that. Death was everywhere and around every tree every house.
To stay alive in the Civil War as a soldier meant you had to be good and lucky. Good in reference to being able to fight and lucky being that many commanders from both sides sent their men into certain suicide missions, under the guise of military tactics. Call it what they needed to yet the reality of the assaults and attacks on forts and towns and ports was that death was constantly apparent.
The end of the war brought undoubtedly great fanfare and joy to the soldier. No longer did he have to carry around a hundred pounds of nothing while dodging bullets. The creeping around as a form of loco-motion could now evolve into a straightforward gait.
The war was over. Four long and bloody years, done with. What was going through the minds and hearts of those fighting men who survived the darkest time in American history? Joy and shame were dancing partners in the mind of the soldier, the American man. Now the work at hand was to reclaim the lives that they left, back to the farms and stores, the fields of wheat, the smell of hay and barley.
As the veterans settled back into their previous lives and away from soldier life on both sides, the dividing lines faded but the memories remained. In order to deal with these changes the ex-soldiers created two organizations, The Grand Army of the Republic and The United Confederate Veterans.
With these two parties reuniting for past battle reenactment, memories were kept alive of the men the friends that were lost in The Civil War. Time caught up with these heroes and as the ages reached 70 and 80, the organizations lost their power and zeal and were closed.
What these two parties did for the country, their country, will forever be remembered through the various battlefield historical parks and monuments erected. Americans have the places to go and educate their children about the atrocities and necessities of waging a civil war where brother fights brother in an unholy union.