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Page:A narrative of service with the Third Wisconsin Infantry.djvu/20

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In the North, few people seemed as yet to realize that a great war was impending. The Southern newspapers boastfully asserted that secession might be accomplished in peace, for the Northerners were a nation of shopkeepers and mechanics, who would never fight to prevent it. And these statements, reprinted in the Northern papers, were far from soothing, for there is nothing that so quickly arouses the combativeness of men, and especially of young men, as the intimation that they are cowards. Thus were the younger and more hot-headed men on both sides being stirred to warlike feeling by newspaper writers, until such hostile sentiment was aroused that war was inevitable.

Immediately after the secession of South Carolina, I had expressed my intention, in conversation with my friends, that should war follow, I would have a hand in it. This determination grew as events drifted on from bad to worse. I cannot say that I was very strongly animated by a love for the Union in the abstract, or that I considered the abolition of slavery worth fighting for; but I felt that the dismemberment of the Union by