Hopefully I will have some time later today to comment on Peter Carmichael’s keynote address which was delivered yesterday as part of a 1-day symposium on R.E. Lee sponsored by the Lee Chapel in Lexington. Pete touched on a number of issues that I’ve commented on in recent months.
In the meantime consider a point made by Aaron Sheehan-Dean that relates to his forthcoming study, Why Confederates Fought: Family and Nation in Civil War Virginia (University of North Carolina Press). A comment was made during the Q&A which suggested the average age of the Confederate soldier was 19 years old. Aaron has done statistical analysis of soldiers in Virginia which points to an average age of 24; he went on to characterize the ANV as an army of husbands and fathers. If we are thinking about motivation along generational lines than this little bit of information has the potential to refocus our attention on a number of important questions.