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Third War: Irregular Warfare on the Western Border, 1861-1865


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Like many students of history in the United States, I have always been enthralled by the American Civil War. This short period in American History has captured the imagination of Americans and spurred them to consume the many volumes written about this brother-against-brother conflict. Most of these volumes have dealt with the important battles of the war, which pitted massive armies from the North and South against each other in a struggle to determine whether the country would separate or stay together. These battles, highlighted by Gettysburg, Antietam, Vicksburg, Fredericksburg, and others too numerous to mention, were the predecessors of similar grand conflicts that would rack Europe and the world in the decades to follow. Arguably, for the first time in history, an entire nation mobilized to conduct a war that would eventually spill over and affect most of the population. From the gentlemanly preparation for the First Battle of Bull Run to the consuming power of Shermans march to the sea, the American Civil War involved far more of the American population than war in Europe historically had involved.



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