Lincoln’s Death, New Nation: April 1865 to 1877

Lincoln Compared to Other Great Presidents

What happened to the immense Union armies?

Ninety, perhaps even ninety-five, percent of the soldiers were demobilized in a very short time. There simply was no need for their presence: the North had shown its mighty power on the battlefield.

For many, if not most, of the Northern soldiers, the Civil War was the defining experience of their lives, the moment to which all other events were designated as “before” or “after.” Many soldiers had kept diaries: many of them now turned those into book form. There were reunions and reviews on almost an ongoing basis for the next thirty years. And, perhaps most importantly, almost every man who wished to run for high officer—from U.S. congressman to U.S. president—had to answer that all-important question: What had he done during the war?


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