Sam Watkins Memoirs

by sbattles | September 13th, 2010

Wow! That was a lot of reading! I found it really interesting though.

Sam Watkins provided a very informative and interesting view of the Civil war. He talks not only about the horrors of war (Men dying and losing body parts), but also the humorous parts (snowball fights and pranks).  Because he was a private he is also able to provide a more personal view. Rather than talking about strategies and boring stuff like that he is able to relate to the individual reading the story by telling them about personal things and relationships.

One thing I liked about this book is it was not romanticized. Watkins just gives the plain bold facts of war. He talks about the injustices and what exactly the generals were like. My favorite part was when he talked about what a soldiers life was like.

“A soldier’s life is not a pleasant one. It is always, at best, one of privations and hardships. The emotions of patriotism and please hardly counterbalance the toils and suffering that he has to undergo in order to enjoy his patriotism and pleasure. Dying on the field of battle and glory is about the easiest duty a soldier has to undergo. It is the living, marching, fighting, shooting soldier that has the hardships of war to carry. When a brave soldier is killed he is at rest. The living soldier knows not at what moment he, too, may be called on to lay down his life on the altar of his country. The dead are heroes, the living are but men compelled to do the drudgery and suffer the privations incident to the thing called ‘glorious war’. (Co. Aytch, Sam Watkins, p 94-95)

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