Soldiering in the Army of Tennessee
A Portrait of Life in a Confederate Army
Larry J. Daniel
The western army had neither strong leadership nor battlefield victories to sustain it, yet it maintained its cohesiveness. The "glue" that kept the men in the ranks included fear of punishment, a well-timed religious revival that stressed commitment and sacrifice, and a sense of comradeship developed through the common experience of serving under losing generals.
The soldiers here tell the story in their own rich words, for Daniel quotes from an impressive variety of sources, drawing upon his reading of the letters and diaries of more than 350 soldiers as well as scores of postwar memoirs. They write about rations, ordnance, medical care, punishments, the hardships of extensive campaigning, morale, and battle. While eastern and western soldiers were more alike than different, Daniel says, there were certain subtle variances. Western troops were less disciplined, a bit rougher, and less troubled by class divisions than their eastern counterparts. Daniel concludes that shared suffering and a belief in the ability to overcome adversity bonded the soldiers of the Army of Tennessee into a resilient fighting force.