Reader Questions for “Rough Enough” #4: What was it like starting off in the Army – then and now?

Richard Clow’s first enlistment at age 17 was a one hundred day gig at Camp Meigs in Readville, Mass. which began on August 18, 1864.  This sounds somewhat like the Reserves training of the 1960’s to me; the volunteer receiving three months of indoctrination and training with the 22nd Massachusetts Infantry followed by having the option of either extending and going on active duty, or of going home and waiting to be called in case there was a real crisis.

As you read through chapter 2, think about each of these following questions and write your own opinions as they may differ from my own interpretations of Richard Clow’s words.

1. What does Richard’s first letter say to you as you read it in the opening words of Chapter 2 and look between the lines to figure out how he is getting along? Is he enjoying the training, company, and life int the barracks?

2. What does it say about the training and life in the barracks for the first three weeks to know that he has already worn out his boot and  doesn’t have enough warm blankets, a vest or a mattress to sleep on?

3. When we think of “winning” a war, it can have several different meanings as to the actual outcome depending on which side you belong to. What do you see as the real hope of the South in fighting this war? Do they want to be totally free of the North? What terms of agreement would the South want if  they were negotiating a truce and how would these terms differ from those desired by the North? What does winning a total victory mean for the South and what does it mean for the North?

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