Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Watching the Death of an Army

As Lee said, it's that time of year again for the destruction of the AoT. And in the case of the Battle of Nashville, we are lucky to have a photographic glimpse into the battle as it is going on in real time. Photographer George Bernard documented U.S. troops -- those not engaged, that is -- watching the battle from their positions in the outer works. The LoC has fantastic .tiff scans of these photographs here, but these are some zoom-in and crop jobs that give us some neat detail.

This guy has always screamed "Western Fed" to me. The nonchalant demeanor, the decidedly unmilitary bearing. Also not that tent/hut city sprawling back in the distance, and the regiment after regiment's worth of rifles stacked off in the distance.

More on those troop positions in the background of the first fellow. How good are these guys at putting up abatis by now?

And the part of the war that tends to be left out: logistics, wagons, horses, and the non-glamorous stuff.
They say that the army life is one of great boredom punctuated by times of great excitement. Obviously, for these fellows with a ringside seat, this battle certainly provides that break from the mundane along with the added bonus of not getting shot at.
...and observing is not for the soldiers alone. This civilian/military mixed group is standing perhaps 10-15 yds. behind the others.

1 comment:

S. Thomas Summers said...

Shootin’ Instructions

Shoot a reb in the head.
Aint no brain like we got.
Reb’s skull full of hay and seed
and manure. It’ll fold up like a barn
in a tornado.

Shoot’im in the chest
and he’ll keep comin’.
See, all Reb's got three hearts –
One kicks off, the next one
starts thunkin. He'll keep comin’ for you
and like a ghost he’ll scrape the courage
off ya like bark off a log.

Shoot a reb in the head
or your breath is good as spent.

by S. Thomas Summers