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The Antietam Campaign$
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Gary W. Gallagher

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780807824818

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807835913_gallagher

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Who Would Not Be a Soldier

Who Would Not Be a Soldier

The Volunteers of ′62 in the Maryland Campaign

(p.143) Who Would Not Be a Soldier
The Antietam Campaign

D. Scott Hartwig

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter raises questions about the prowess of a Union army that included approximately 20,000 green troops. Raised in the summer of 1862 and rushed to the front, new regiments frequently had undergone no formal training before being thrown into battle against veteran Confederates who had won a string of victories over the previous three months. The untried soldiers often fought bravely, but they and their equally green officers lacked the ability to maneuver effectively in combat. At Harpers Ferry, South Mountain, and Antietam, they often proved a hindrance rather than an asset to McClellan, and their inept attempts to respond to battlefield pressures sometimes caused even seasoned northern units to break. The chapter considers the Maryland campaign a particularly brutal form of on-the-job training for the green units, most of which would prove themselves on subsequent battlefields.

Keywords:   Civil War, Maryland campaign, Union army, green soldiers

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