The Civil War Soldier
James Risque Hutter and Richard Henry Toler Adams, both Lynchburg natives, provide two different narratives of the Civil War. Through their accounts Hutter and Adams allow us a glimpse into the daily reality of the Civil War. Hutter spent much of his time as a prisoner of war. Adams served in General Robert E. Lee’s army as a signal officer and fought in many of the major campaigns of the Civil War. Hutter and Adams offer a Lynchburg perspective on the wide ranging events of the war. D. L. Hopkins was a Lexington resident who was in Lynchburg during the Battle of Lynchburg. He wrote to his wife, who was back in Lexington, about his daily activities and what he felt was important for her to know.
To know what a soldier’s life would have been like, one must know who he was.
The Civil War soldier was different from the average solider today. A Confederate soldier would have been a white single male between the ages of 18-39. He would have been a native U.S. citizen and mostly likely worked as a farmer. He also would have stood about 5’8″ and weighed 140 lbs or so on average. He likely would not have had military experience and would have volunteered or been conscripted into the army.
McPherson, James. For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 1998.