What I Saw At Shiloh Poem Analysis

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In Ambrose Bierce’s Civil War Stories Bierce uses the first story of the book What I Saw at Shiloh as a all encompassing piece to describe his experience in the Civil War. At a time when the common theme of writing about the war was limited to victorious bravado and lacked substance about the war, What I Saw at Shiloh paints a realistic view of the war. Bierce’s descriptions uses many of the same military themes of the day but also include descriptions of the horrors and uncomfortable truths that were missing from contemporary writings following the War Between the States. Following the Civil War there are few examples of literature that accurately describe the war. Poetry and writings from both the North and the South was full of victorious or sorrowful words. While the North gallantly praised their noble cause of preserving the Union, the South mourned a lost cause and a valiant effort. Herman Melville also known for Moby Dick wrote “There is triumph in the…show more content…
“An army’s bravest men are it’s cowards, the death they would not meet at the hands of the enemy they will meet at the hands of their officers, with never a flinching.” While describing a field hospital Bierce does not paint a pretty picture of the dead being mourned rather his picture is one of a processing facility where the dead are handled like objects and the living are only waiting their turn outside. “These tents were constantly receiving the wounded, yet were never full; they were constantly ejecting the dead, yet were never empty. It was if all the helplessness had been carried in an murdered, that they might not hamper those whose business it was to fall to-morrow.” Bierce strikes the reader with a grim, uncomfortable look into the reality of the war alongside the story of Union success at
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