Saturday, April 12, 2008
by Lee White
I have finally finished reading Dr. Jason Phillips's Diehard Rebels: The Confederate Culture of Invincibility, and would like to note a few observations about it concerning the Army of Tennessee. First of all Phillips addresses several things in his book that lead to a "Culture of Invincibility" that pervaded in the Confederacy's armies, they were Religion, Perceptions of the Enemy, and Rumors of Grandeur. The thing that struck me the most came from his last chapter that dealt with how these men reacted to the end, the surrenders. Phillips would write about the Army of Tennessee, "These men who had been losing battles since 1862 were still fighting while the remains of their government and its most revered army swept by like debris in a flood." Yet, the AoT would remain together for a few more days, the men still willing to fight. So it could be said that the men in the Army of Tennessee were some of the most diehard of the Diehards, having to face an obstacle the Diehards of the Army of Northern Virginia did not, that being the sight of the funeral procession of the Confederacy. Even given the factors that Phillips presents it had to be the most massive shock to the resolve of the Diehards, to see the president and then the remains of Lee's army streaming through their lines. Bully For Bragg! He's Hell on retreat indeed.