Should I stay home with my family where it is safe or go fight in the war to serve my country? This question was asked frequently during the 1860’s in the U.S.A. because the Civil War was going on. For some people it was a simple question that they did not have to think about but for others it was a difficult decision. As an eighteen-year-old male member of Reading, MA in 1861 during the Civil War serving my own country would be more important than personal preservation. I would be at the perfect age where I do not have a wife or children yet and the Union was well prepared for the War with new technology and good tactics.
The Union had a great amount of technology such as monitors, railroad artillery, military telegraphs, machine guns, cannons, rifled muskets, lead minié balls, naval ships, and warships. Their warships had a revolving territ that contained two guns and helped benefit them in battles. They also had more industrialism than the South so it was easy for weapons and other products to be manufactured for them. The weapons and products could be transported easily and quickly because of the large abundance of railroads in the North. The weapons were dangerous but everyone knew that going into the war and there were doctors for injured people.
A popular resolution for bad injuries was amputation. This was the most common surgical procedure in the South for the Union. By the end of the war Union surgeons had performed about 30,000 amputations. It was common to see amputees in any town or farming community throughout the South. Two out of every three Civil War wounds were treated by surgeons because some soldiers had other fatal injuries, leaving them with no chance of survival. There was a higher mortality rate if the amputation had to be made higher.
Having good tactics was also important in the war. The South was trying to prolong the war until it became too overbearing for the North. They protected their borders and then launched offenses. The North’s tactics were to invade the South , destroy its capacity to wage war, and crush the will of the Southerners to resist. Since the North was at advantage by numbers they knew they would be able to out fight the South. Fighting as a soldier for the Union would not be bad because even though they did not have as many surgeons they had good tactics and technology and at the end of the day that is what will help the most.
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