Lee's Young Artillerist: William R.J. Pegram (Nation Divided: New Studies in Civil War History)
By: Peter S. Carmichael (author)Paperback
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William R. J. Pegram forged a record as one of the most prominent artillerists in the Army of Northern Virginia. He participated in every major battle in Virginia and rose from sergeant to full colonel by the end of the war. Pegram entered Confederate service to defend a way of life that he believed to be ordained by God, a belief that was shared by many of his contemporaries. Lee's Young Artillerist looks at Pegram as a case study exemplifying the worldview of slaveholders whose formative years were the 1850s. Religious leaders offered a scriptural interpretation of society that emphasized human inequality as part of a social hierarchy and made support of slavery a Christian duty for all white Southerners. Pegram firmly believed in a religion of action, that God demanded he and his men do everything in their power to defeat the enemy. He equated losing faith in the Confederacy with abandoning God, family, and community and could not conceive of defeat at the hands of ungodly Northerners. Rather than being considered fanatic, Pegram's values were shared by other young Confederate officers, the South's ruling elite. Lee's Young Artillerist challenges the thesis of some Civil War historians that a weakening Confederate belief in slavery and a loss of morale contributed to the South's defeat. Carmichael proposes instead that Pegram and thousands of other young Confederates interpreted their world through a religious prism that made the defense of slavery appear a just cause for which to die.
Peter S. Carmichael is Assistant Professor of History at Western Carolina University.
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- ID: 9780813918280
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