'The bugle call' from 'Battles and leaders of the Civil War' (New York, 1887-1888). [NLS shelfmark: Hend.752-755]
'Battles and leaders', a compendium of accounts from generals and veterans aiming to foster national reconciliation, recorded both Union and Confederate perspectives on the American Civil War.
'The bugle call' represents an essential feature of army life. The field music of buglers was crucial to communication in camp and battle. Each call signified an instruction.
While battle cries served to unite troops emotionally, bugle calls united troops in movement and action.
Confederate States formed
The American Civil War is variously known as the 'War of Northern Aggression', or of 'Rebellion'.
The conflict escalated from irrepressible tensions between the industrial North and agrarian South into a bitter four year struggle.
Southern states — growing valuable tobacco, sugar, corn and cotton — were economically dependent on slavery.
After Abraham Lincoln's election as President of America in 1860, South Carolina seceded from the Union, perceiving his anti-slavery views as a threat.
Ten states followed. The Confederate States of America was formed and Jefferson Davis became its President. General Robert E Lee commanded the Confederate Army against Lincoln's larger Union forces.
From its beginning at Fort Sumter in April 1861 to its close with General Lee’s surrender in April 1865 and Jefferson Davis' capture in May, the American Civil War claimed the lives of an estimated 620,000 soldiers.
Freedom for slaves
Emancipation took centre stage in 1862 and 1863, and black Americans joined the Union Army.
After the Thirteenth Amendment to abolish slavery was passed in 1865 and the Fourteenth ratified in 1868, four million people who had been enslaved in 1860 became American citizens.
In the Gettysburg Address he delivered on 19 November 1863, Abraham Lincoln stated:
'The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus so far nobly advanced.'
Material on the American Civil War featured in our display 'Yankee cries and Rebel yells' at the Library from 21 January to 29 March 2015.