James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927). History of the Civil War, 1861–1865. 1917.

Page 341

  Chapter XI   LIFE at the North during the war resembled that of most civilized communities which had full communication with the outside world. Business went on as usual, schools and colleges were full, churches were attended and men and women had their recreations. Progress was made in the mechanical sciences and arts. Men strove for wealth or learning; and the pursuit of fame was by no means confined to military and political circles. Nevertheless, that supreme business, the war, left its stamp on all private concerns and on every mode of thought. This was especially remarkable during the first eighteen months when the patriotic volunteers were individually encouraged by the sympathy and enthusiasm of those at home. “What of the war! Isn’t it grand!” exclaimed Phillips Brooks in May, 1861. As late as the summer of 1862 the excellent character of the soldiers was noted. “Our army,” wrote Asa Gray on July 2, “is largely composed of materials such as nothing but a high sense of duty could keep for a year in military life.” “Our best young men,” said Agassiz in a private letter of August 15, “are the first to enlist; if anything can be objected to these large numbers of soldiers, it is that it takes away the best material that the land possesses.” “In all the country districts the strong young men were gone.” 1  1   Times were hard at the commencement of the war and
Note 1. V, 189. Fite, Social and Industrial Conditions during the Civil War, 5. [back]