Motivations of Civil War Soldiers

This is George Mason University history professor Christopher Hamner lecturing his class on what motivated Civil War soldiers. He divides the motivations into what motivated men to enlist, what motivated them to stay in the army, and what motivated them in combat. This is a really good presentation.

The video’s description reads, “Christopher Hamner talked about the factors that motivated Union and Confederate soldiers during different periods of the Civil War. Hamner explained how things like patriotism, money, and ideology factored into young men’s decisions to enlist and head into combat. He also explained that the promise of an immediate furlough served as incentive for soldiers to re-enlist during the latter half of the war. This class was from his course called, ‘The Civil War and Reconstruction.’ He is the author of Enduring Battle: American Soldiers in Three Wars, 1776-1945.”


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