Where the Confederates prevailed
Published: Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, July 25, 2013 at 4:47 p.m.
Who were the soldiers that fought in Gainesville in August of 1864?
The average soldier on both sides was a “white, native-born, farmer, Protestant, single, between 18 and 29. He stood about 5-feet 8-inches tall,” according to historian Bell I. Wiley, who pioneered the study of the Civil War soldier. Although the majority of soldiers were farmers before the war, the rosters reflected nearly every occupation of the time.
By August 1864, hardly any family, North or South, was untouched by the war. The war’s first year had seen the Southern armies take an advantage, but Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg had turned the tide toward the North. By 1864, the populations on both sides were tired of the war. For the Southern soldier, the hope of defeating the much larger Federal army was fading.