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"Raising the White Flag (2019)" Topic

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American Civil War

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP06 Sep 2019 9:24 p.m. PST

"In this fascinating treatment of a long neglected topic, David Silkenat explores how Civil War-era Americans made sense of surrender as both an idea and practice—as well as how its meaning evolved over the course of the conflict. When the guns fell silent in Charleston Harbor on April 13, 1861, the capitulation of Major Robert Anderson's Fort Sumter garrison not only prevented "the further effusion of blood," but also forged the paradigmatic standard of "honorable surrender" for the duration of the internecine war. Both loyal and secessionist publics expected subsequent commanders facing surrender during the conflict to behave just as Anderson did, fighting desperately until any objective observer would conclude that further resistance was both futile and strategically pointless—all the while keeping their passions in check and scrupulously protecting their personal honor and that of their command by avoiding disgraceful terms. Whether or not any given surrender had in fact been "honorable" was a highly subjective verdict levied retrospectively in the court of public opinion. Absent any formal doctrine governing when or how Civil War officers were to surrender their commands should the unfortunate necessity arise, adhering to the expectations of an unforgiving public proved a perilous exercise for those facing hopeless tactical situations in the field…"


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mildbill08 Sep 2019 5:45 a.m. PST

Usually worked but sometimes passions would get out of control in some situations. Fort Pillows is one example. The battle of Pilot Knob is another situation were the Union commander successfully defended when usually he would have surrendered because the Rebel Missouri troops would have killed him personally out of hand. Later that night, the Arkansas troops permitted the garrison to sneak out under the cover of darkness because they knew of the Missourians plans for the Union commander.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP08 Sep 2019 3:55 p.m. PST



Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2019 1:21 a.m. PST

For once, the publisher's blurb really does attract me to a book. The stats about deaths vs surrender in Pickett's Charge for example. True ACW buffs may have known this for decades…..I make no such claim and certainly did not

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