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| Donald Worster on: Powells Participation in the Civil War
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Donald Worster on: Powells Participation in the Civil War
Donald Worster Q: The Civil War came along, how did Powell respond? Is that something that he fell right into?

DW: He fell right into it. He was one of the first to join up. He was a principal of a school, in Illinois and when the call came for volunteers, he was there. He marched off to Chicago. He was mustered into the military, sent down to Cape Gerardo, in Missouri, and then had to cool his heels for several months because he was left behind. Most of the action was under by this point, and he was left behind to build fortifications that wouldn't be used. So, he was very frustrated at that point. He was a gung-ho soldier, no question about that--wanted to fight in the worst way. Got books out of the library or wherever to study up on military engineering-- ready to go to the front when he was wanted.

Q: What made him so eager to do it?

DW: Well, of course, his family had been strong supporters of Abraham Lincoln and of abolition--anti-slavery. So, there was that moral purpose that he had in mind, I think. He believed in the cause. I think, also, it was exciting, it was daring. It was the movement of people onto a battlefield of the fortifications. These guns, all of that appealed to the engineering side of him, the side that liked to organize missions of some sort. He never had this opportunity, like a lot of people at that point who had never had the experience and the tragedy of war in their lives. He could only see the romantic and glorious side of it.

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