The “Civil War” was one of the largest and most influential wars to have ever occurred in the United States of America. As a result of the “Civil war’s” magnitude and influence there have been several publications and productions about this event. An example of these “Civil War” historical publications would be films and cinema. One of these notable pieces of cinema would be a movie titled “Cold Mountains”. This movie was originally a bestselling novel, which was also titled “Cold Mountains”. In the movie “Cold Mountains”, the main character of this film, “W.P. Inman” is a deserter from the “Confederate Army” during the close of the “Civil War”. The audience will watch “Inman” and his exploits as he finds his way back home to the rural Southern town of “Cold Mountain” and reunite with the love of his life “Ada Monroe”. Because “Cold Mountains” is a movie based on the events of the “Civil War”, there is a level of historical accuracy that is well received in this film. This quality level of historical accuracy can be noticed in how the film displays deserters of the “Civil War”, the struggle of the Southern woman and the struggle of battle that “Civil War” soldiers had to deal with.
During the “Civil War”, each side of the United States had its own individual army fighting for its own individual cause. The Northern states of America had the “Union Army” and the Southern states of America had the “Confederate Army”. Each Army had its own rules and terms of engagement concerning its soldiers and how they conducted themselves during the war. One of these rules and regulations is that no soldier is allowed to leave or run away from the army during the course of the war. The term for leaving “The Army” without being properly discharged is called “Desertion”. “Desertion” or being considered a “Deserter” is viewed as “treason”, which during the “Civil War era” was a crime punishable by death. In the film “Cold Mountains”, there were several characters that were “Deserters” of the “Southern Army”. These characters included “W.P. Inman”, “Stobrod Thewes” and various other examples of “Deserters”. During the film, the lives of these “Deserted soldiers” were constantly at risk of being discovered by the “Home Guard”. The “Home Guard” was the driving force behind the law enforcement for “Deserters” and they were a corrupt group of individuals. There were several scenes in “Cold Mountains” that displayed the cruel nature of the “Home Guard” and how they treated the “Deserters”. One of these scenes would be the vicious executions of one Southern woman’s husband and sons, as well as how badly they tortured her in order to gain information about the “Deserters”. The accuracy displayed in this scene as well as other scenes like this correlates well with the true nature of the “Civil War”.
As a result of the men leaving to fight during the “Civil War”, there were several women left behind to take care of homestead while the men were away serving their respective armies. The task of keeping up the homestead was especially difficult for the “Southern Woman”. This task was difficult because the southern states were more rural than the Northern states, which were more urban. In the film “Cold Mountains”, it can be seen that “Ada Monroe” has been given the difficult task of maintain the farm land left to her by her father. The field work that she needed to do was a task generally taken up by men and other field hands that specialized in this form of work. Another example from this film would be the “Southern Woman Sara”, a widow with an infant son. She was left with almost nothing and had to deal with the harassment of the “Union Army”. Overall, the plight of the “Southern Woman” during the “Civil War” was accurately displayed in the film “Cold Mountains”.
In the opening scene of “Cold Mountains” the audience is faced with the “Confederate Army” facing off with the “Union Army” soldiers. The battle taking place in the film was known as the “Battle of the Crater”. In this scene, the horrific truths of war were visually displayed in a gruesome battle. In the “Battle of the Crater”, “Inman” would see one of his close friends become mortally wounded. “Inman” would later watch his friend slowly perish as a result of his injuries. Another example of the struggle “Inman” faced in battle was witnessed in the scene where “Inman” and his fellow soldiers were ordered to fight against the remaining “Union Army” soldiers. Both of these battles were extremely accurate in terms of how horrific war actually was during the “Civil War” time period.
The movie “Cold Mountains” brought up several interesting points concerning the “Civil War” era and how much of a struggle the “Confederate Army” had. These struggles were seen in how harshly the “Deserters” were treated. The women of the South also had to deal with several uncomfortable issues such as hard field work and raising a family alone. The “Confederate Army” also had to deal with the harsh reality of battle and how much of a trial it was. All things considered, “Cold Mountains” is a film that is extremely historically accurate.
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