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The Civil War Era: A Historical Exploration of Literature
Pagexv(16 of 269)
xv The purpose of this book is to develop a historical and contextual under- standing of the literature written about the American Civil War, the blood- iest conflict in U.S. history. Depending on whose perspective was taken, either Northern or Southern, this war has had many different names: the War of the Rebellion, or the War of the Northern Invasion, or the War of Southern Independence, or, the now more commonly accepted name, the American Civil War. During the four years of the American Civil War (1861–1865), about 625,000 combatants, or 2 percent of the U.S. population, lost their lives. In addition, there were 1.5 million combatants either killed, wounded, or captured as total casualties combined. These casualty rates do not only remain the highest of any other American war, but they remain now, over 150 years later, higher than all the other wars combined. The American Civil War was indeed a very bloody affair.1 The reasons for such high casualty figures are complex. The war occurred during a time when emerging technological advances would play havoc with 19th-century military doctrine. In fact, those old military doc- trines were the contributing factor in the lethality of the American Civil War battlefield. American Civil War doctrine had been developed 50 years Introduction