My Decision to Join the Union

As an eighteen year old clerk living in Reading, MA in the year 1861, I have decided that it is more important to serve my country rather than to selfishly preserve myself and my own well being as an individual.  Although my decision to serve in war is very dangerous for my wellbeing, I know that there are forms of technology, tactics, and treatment that will allow success in the war for our country and recuperation from the hardships we are bound to encounter.

It is more important to serve my country rather than preserve my own self because serving in the Civil War helps lead to change for our country.  I want to be part of something greater than myself and help lead the Union to victory.  I feel safe serving in the Civil War because of the Union’s definite tactics.  In the “Civil War: Strategies” article the author writes, ” generals in both North and South sought victory by outlining clear strategies and battle plans. The Confederacy sought independence and only had to defend itself. The United States sought to compel the seceded states to abandon their hopes to found a new nation.” (“Civil War: Strategies”, Page 1).  Although the United States has an overall greater goal compared to the Confederacy, I know that my actions will help contribute to the founding of a new nation.  The Union has more difficult goals compared to the Confederacy.  These lofty goals must be fulfilled through thoughtful strategies.  In “Civil War: Strategies” the author writes, ” With Winfield Scott’s so-called “Anaconda Plan,” the United States pursued a strategy that included a naval blockade to restrict the flow of goods into southern ports, a combined Army-Navy effort to divide the Confederacy by seizing control of the Mississippi River, and major offensives into the Confederate hinterlands. “(“Civil War: Strategies”, Page 1).  The Union naval blockade was carried out using the Monitor that only had two guns on it; although participating in the war is dangerous, I am still determined to help the Union succeed.  Through my decision to participate in war, I am risking my own life, but am confident that my small actions will lead to a greater outcome that will unite the nation.

It is the Union’s goal to invade the Confederacy, destroy its capacity to wage war, and then destroy the will of the southern people to resist.  It is more important to participate in war rather than preserve myself because the Union has difficult goals to accomplish and needs loyal soldiers to serve.


I have decided to join the Union because I trust the treatment that hurt soldiers receive.  In the article, “Under the Knife”, Terry L. Jones wrote that, ““When bone was damaged, surgeons had to decide quickly on one of three possible treatments. If it was a simple fracture, a wooden or plaster splint was applied, but if the bone was shattered the surgeon performed either a resection or an amputation.” (“Under the Knife”, Terry L. Jones).  There is a possibility of getting hurt and even dying in the Civil War, but I trust that if I get hurt, the doctors will be able to take care of me.  There are skilled surgeons who will be able to give amputations and resection on damaged bones.  Doctors also used anesthetics on a patient when a body part was amputated.  Jones wrote that, “Civil War surgeons almost always had chloroform to anesthetize patients before an amputation. The chloroform was dripped onto a piece of cloth held over the patient’s face until he was unconscious. Although not an exact science, the procedure worked well, and few patients died from overdose. Opium pills, opium dust and injections were also available to control postoperative pain.” (“Under the Knife”, Terry L. Jones).  Joining the war will be risking my life, but there are many medical treatments that control pain after amputations.

Part of the North’s strategy was to cut off the Confederate’s resources and thriving international cotton trade.  To do this, they had to enforce a naval blockade that surrounded the Southern rivers and ports.  It is more important for me to serve in the war than protect myself because I trust that Scott Anaconda’s naval blockade plan will be successful.


General Scott Winfield’s “Anaconda Plan” from

The Confederacy had no navy at the start of the war but then created “the monster”, which is greater than any of the Union ships.  Gideon Welles, the Secretary of State, asked for a ship to be made that would stop the Confederate Merrimack ship.  The ship would only have two guns compared to the Merrimack’s ten.  The guns would be mounted on a revolving turret.  I want to serve in the War because the Union has advanced technology that will ultimately lead to victory.  The Monitor had over 47 patentable technologies and was unlike many other ships.  At the Battle of Ironclads, both the Monitor and the Merrimack battled for four hours straight.  After this time, the Merrimack drew back and two months later blew it up.  I want to be part of the Union because of its strategic tactics, advanced technologies, and precise treatment.


To see pictures that depict the Monitor’s revolving turret that had only two guns, go to this link.

The images are from the video “Iron Clads”

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