Dr. David Doellinger
Bachelor of Arts
In the annals of the American Civil War, the regular U.S. Army has not been the focus of historical works until very recently, which is surprising in light of the noble and honorable service it rendered during the 19th century, without thanks or praise from the society it protected and served. After being scattered across the American frontiers for decades, the U.S. Army’s infantry, by far the largest branch, was consolidated into one solid division within the 5th corps in 1862. Instead of being separated from each other and having to rely on themselves for support, they now fought as never before, with approximately 10,000 men of the regulars fighting as one, providing a dramatic contrast to the 90,000 volunteers enrolled in the Army of the Potomac. Professional soldiers fighting and dying together, a solid core and reserve for the rest of the army to form around and take inspiration from, an inspiration that would give us an apocryphal quote from a 5th corps volunteer: “For two years the regulars showed us how to fight like soldiers, in the Wheatfield at Gettysburg they showed us how to die like soldiers.”
Plett, David, "Tenting on the Old Campground: A Social History of the U.S. Regular and State Volunteer Troops in the 5th Corps, Army of the Potomac, 1862-1865" (2014). Student Theses, Papers and Projects (History). 38.