Gen. Judson Bishops comments on the effect of military service on the Civil War generation.
It is a common mistake to think and speak of the old soldier as a pitiable lot of physical wrecks whose disability originated in the military service. This is far from the truth . [M]any of the survivors of the war are indebted to their military service not only for improved physical condition, but for such regulation, education and development of the mind and character as have largely contributed to their success in civil life, and no class of men have in the past twenty-five years been more generally successful than the old soldiers. The four years training in habits of patience, courage, self reliance and persistence have given them qualities which count in their whole after life as no small recompense for the hardships and exposure of their army service.
Source: Bishop, Judson. The Story of a Regiment, Being a Narrative of the Service of the Second Regiment, Minnesota Veteran Volunteer Infantry, In the Civil War of 1861-1865 (St Paul, MN, 1890), 202.