What major events are related through Tony Horwitz's travels in chapter 10, "The Civil Wargasm," of Confederates in the Attic?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Tony Horwitz's chapter titled "The Civil Wargasm" in his book Confederates in the Attic details a trip he took with Robert Lee Hodge to visit all major Civil War sites, dressed in Civil War uniforms, trying to experience things as the soldiers would have experienced them back then. This was a trip Rob first took with his friend Joel, and they dubbed it the Civil Wargasm, or just Gasm for short. Now, Tony is taking the trip with Rob and detailing his experiences.

The most noteworthy details of the chapter include all of the many fascinating facts about the Civil War. For example, Tony relays that First Manassas was the first major Civil War battle, and Northern General Irvin McDowell felt obliged to warn Lincoln about how unprepared their troops were for battle. McDowell's comment prompted Lincoln's famous reply: "You are green, it's true. But they are green, also. You are all green alike." (p. 216) Tony relates that this first battle is also famous for the fact that it incited Northern troops to flee in mass retreat toward Washington. Northerners dubbed the retreat "the Bull Run races"; Southerners dubbed it "The Great Skedaddle" (p. 16).

Another fact we learn in this chapter concerns the war call Confederate soldiers adopted. Since we don't know exactly what the call sounded like, historians have been able to narrow it down to three different versions. Rob mesmerizes a group of boys by demonstrating all three calls. Other facts describe John Brown's famous slave rebellion at Harpers Ferry. As the author progresses with Rob to the sites of various battles, he also relates various facts about the Civil War, and the relating of facts and descriptions of the people they encounter count as major events that happen in the chapter.

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