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This Distracted and Anarchical PeopleNew Answers for Old Questions about the Civil War-Era North$
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Andrew L. Slap and Michael Thomas Smith

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780823245680

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823245680.001.0001

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The Black Flag and Confederate Soldiers

The Black Flag and Confederate Soldiers

Total War from the Bottom Up?

Chapter:
(p.142) The Black Flag and Confederate Soldiers
Source:
This Distracted and Anarchical People
Author(s):

Michael J. Bennett

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823245680.003.0009

This essay contends that there are inconsistencies in the Freedom School's interpretation of the Civil War as simultaneously a redemptive national conflict and the first modern total war. Examining Confederate atrocities against Union soldiers, it argues that white southerners so passionately hated the North that they frequently disregarded the rules of war. He thinks that historians have avoided accounts of atrocities because they represent everything that the war was not supposed to be about: treachery, brutality, and killing without meaning. The unreasoning savagery made the conflict a total war, stripping the Civil War of its ideological and redemptive power.

Keywords:   Total War, Black Flag, Atrocities, Brutality, Confederate Soldiers

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