Essay about A Historical Review : a Billy Yank's Impression of the South

Submitted By debria33
Words: 1240
Pages: 5

In the book A Billy Yank’s Impression of the South a Union solider is writing in his journal about the things that he sees while he is out at war. The purpose of the book is to describe life during the war through the eyes of a soldier who has not been outside of his hometown. The purpose of writing this book was to inform readers about what the soldiers saw when they traveled from place to place. The author did not really have a viewpoint on this topic. It was just to inform people. There was no specific audience in the writing of this story. The writer’s initial purpose of writing this story is unclear.
The thesis of the story is that the picture of the South and the critical anguish shaped by the war. When George H. Cadman describes Mississippi he says that is was by far the dirtiest city that he had ever been in before in his life. He also says that Columbus, KY was the crummiest place in existence. This shows that the war brought so much dirt to the cities that it made it look like the state was filled with poverty. When Cadman gets to Corinth he says that everything is beautiful but the things that are manmade. He recalls people always saying that the women in Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi were the best looking women in the south, he was disappointed when he sees the women. He describes the women as “all more or less ugly.” When he arrives in Memphis he was disgusted by the fact that there is nothing but ugly women, and the smell and scene of whisky everywhere. He states that Memphis was occupied with “grimy Niggers, Unclean Irish, and Horrid women.” He wrote to his wife that he was more read to leave Memphis then her being sorry for him having to live in Memphis for the short period that he did. Cadman also speaks about how the old ugly women were always fussing, but the young and good-looking women were a lot more civil than he expected. The only thing that Cadman thought that was beautiful about Memphis was the Elm Wood Cemetery. After leaving Memphis Cadman and his crew traveled further east towards Ohio then to Nashville where Cadman described the city as cold and dull. Though they said that Nashville was cold and dull the sight of the state capital impressed Cadman and the others. They said that it was the finest building that they had ever seen. As Cadman continued to travel through the South he came to Holly Springs, Mississippi. He declared Holly Springs to have been the “prettiest town” he had ever seen in his life. When he arrived in Athens, Alabama, he thought that the city was as lonely and in ruins just like the name of the city. Moving father south into Decatur, Alabama he said that the city was very nice outside of the fact that it was in ravages from the war. When the squad marched into Huntsville, the doctor advised Cadman not to go any farther because he suffered from ague, but he would not listen to the doctor and kept traveling with the squad. By the time the team had got to Georgia, Cadman was a front-line soldier and shortly after became a hospital patient. While being in the hospital Cadman wrote that the people in Georgia were the most civilized people in the south that he had ever witnessed. Cadman also states that in the other southern states the men acknowledge the punishment that they have brought upon themselves and that they own their own whip. While in the hospital in Atlanta, from a heat stroke and subsequent combat duty, Cadman had to transfer to a hospital in Marietta, Georgia. In what would soon be known as Cadman’s last letter he states that Marietta must have been a thriving city before the war. He talks about the flowers that are planted on the sides of the streets, and the location and size of the principal stores and warehouses. He goes on to talk about the churches and the hospitals. He also talks about how many people had got sick since the war had started and that the people who have not gone outside their house have no idea how sick the rear of the Army is. After