Charles Francis Adams, despite being considered an authority on the management of railroads couldn’t keep the Union Pacific stable as its president. One of the reasons, according to Richard White in Railroaded, was the boys–the young men too young to have fought in the war seemed “weak, unruly, willful and hard to control.”
On July 9, 1866, President Andrew Johnson nominated Colonel Adams for the award of the rank of brevet (honorary) brigadier general, United States Volunteers, “for distinguished gallantry and efficiency at the battles of Secessionville, South Carolina and South Mountain and Antietam, Maryland and for meritorious services during the war” to rank from March 13, 1865 and the U. S. Senate confirmed the award on July 23, 1866. [wiki]
When the mother of one of his young subordinates (at the railroad) wrote about the hardships of his life, Adams told her, ‘You will, I fear, have to talk in vain to men of my generation . . . [T]he hardships and dangers incurred by your son seem to me quite trifling in comparison with my own recollections of four years active service, summer and winter, in Virginia.” Richard White, Railroaded.
Ouch. So here’s a few questions: Why do most cultures still value the warrior? Why do most boys play soldier? Is it possible to reach true masculinity without a battle?