There is a countless number of war veterans as they come with every armed conflict. They are the brave souls who survived the battle and returned home to their loved ones. But surviving the battle was not the only difficulty they had to endure. The life of a soldier has never been easy. This time, we would like to concentrate on what it would have been like for a soldier during the American Civil War. Over three million men took part in this brutal conflict and nobody had quite the same journey but there were similarities in their lives.
The majority of these men who were conscripted and volunteered for both sides of the war had little or no experience in armed conflicts. They were teachers, bakers, innkeepers, and ironworkers. When armies took them as soldiers, they were asked to do new, unknown and unfamiliar things and it has been extremely difficult.
The Union Army
The record books of life in the Union Army, tell us that the average soldier was only five feet and eight inches tall. He was slim, had brown hair and blue eyes. Most likely he supposed a Christian and came from the rural farmland. As in many other wars, all soldiers were young. Over two million soldiers of the Union Army were under twenty-one. Only 10% of this army were over thirty years old.
The Confederate Army
The pictures of the Union soldier more or less suited the typical men from the South who worked in fields. There was an observation by a Confederate soldier from Florida who described the other men in his unit. Hailing that it was truly a cosmopolitan brigade with soldiers from, Portugal, England, Germany, France, China, Poland, Ireland, and even Brazil.
Both armies had similar recruitment tactics and tried to form units from one town or geographical area. These fighting units represented the demographics of where they came from. That meant certain professions and religious ideals would be dominant. Units recruited from the cities or towns were far more diverse, they were formed by scholars, doctors, tradesmen and all manner of diverse characters. The problem with this recruitment tactic was to complete towns and communities that could be entirely wiped out of their men in one bloody battle.
The camp was the first real survival test for new recruiters. The military camps of both armies were cramped and crowded, and if you came from the farm it took some time to adapt. These conditions were also a feeding ground for illness to spread quickly and many soldiers suffered or even died because of different infectious diseases. The sanitation of these camps was abysmal, with lice abundant and dysentery causing more deaths than bullets. Life was tough for a soldier during the American Civil War, and when he was not fighting, he was often lying in the dirt.