Against All Odds | HistoryNet MENU

Against All Odds

By Jason Phillips
8/22/2018 • Civil War Times Magazine

Diehard Rebels refused to accept defeat, finding strength in God, rumor and their own version of reality.

At the Battle of Nashville on December 16, 1864, Union Major General John Schofield helped annihilate General John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee. Enjoying 2-to-1 odds, Northern troops rushed down unguarded roads and hammered a compact Confederate line. After withstanding blows for hours, Rebel veterans finally threw away their guns and stampeded for the rear as screaming officers vainly tried to curb the panic. All told, the Federals inflicted 6,000 casualties and captured 53 artillery pieces that day. As waves of blue overwhelmed the Confederates, Schofield stopped to ask a captured officer just when his men realized they had been conquered. “Not till you routed us just now,” the officer replied.

Schofield couldn’t believe him. Surely the Rebels knew they were finished weeks earlier at Franklin, where 7,000 Confederates had fallen, including 12 generals and 54 regimental commanders, half the army’s total. Schofield had been there: His men had eviscerated the Confederate ranks when they charged across two miles of level earth. Still haunted by the Rebel officer’s answer 30 years later, Schofield wrote in his memoirs: “He probably told me the exact truth. I doubt if any soldiers in the world ever needed so much cumulative evidence to convince them that they were beaten.”

The persistence of thousands of Rebels is as astounding today as it was to Schofield in 1864. In retrospect, the “cumulative evidence” seems obvious. A naval blockade choked commerce and closed every Confederate port. Federal forces occupied vital cities, split the nation in two, trampled crops, wrecked industry and cut transportation and communication lines. As slavery disintegrated, it took Southern labor with it, and 200,000 black Southerners joined the Union ranks. Meanwhile, hunger stalked the Rebel home front and bread riots tore through cities. State politicians castigated the administration in Richmond and threatened to negotiate a separate peace with the enemy. As chaos prevailed, lawless bands formed third armies that preyed on civilians.

While these events ruined the Southern nation, life inside Confederate armies was equally bleak. Combat, disease, exposure, malnutrition and desertion hollowed Rebel armies to shells of their former might. After crushing defeats at Gettysburg and Vicksburg the previous summer, the campaigns of 1864 intensified the carnage and squalor, drawing more and more blood as the conflict descended into a war of attrition. Atlanta fell in September. Then Lincoln’s reelection portended four more years of war. Yet despite all these portents of defeat, thousands of ragged Confederates earnestly believe that they would prevail against all odds. Schofield was right: These diehard Rebels were truly unique.

While much is known about what Confederates fought for, far less has been written about why they fought on despite tremendous pressures and appalling costs. But a close look at the diehards’ letters and diaries offers new insights into how they persevered when it seems a rational observer would have surrendered, and also suggests that a host of influences drawn from Southern culture and the war itself convinced thousands of Rebels they were invincible.

From the soldiers’ perspective, Confederate independence was only a matter of time. Religious dogma and stereotypes of the North affirmed that God favored white Southerners and would deliver them victory at the appointed hour. As the war worsened, battlefields littered with Union corpses and grand reviews of Confederate military splendor seemed to contradict the enemy’s forecasts of victory. Diehard Rebels also found hope in far-off theaters, the Northern home front and overseas. Rumors of distant triumphs, disaffection and mutiny in the North and European alliances with the Confederacy presented a rosier view of the conflict that was still believable within the soldiers’ world. Together these factors convinced rational men that they were destined to win the war even as they fought to its bitter end.

God was the foundation for the diehard Rebels’ belief system. “If God is on our side,” an Alabama trooper reminded his wife when Lincoln won reelection, “we will triumph nevertheless.” A North Carolinian remained convinced after the fall of Atlanta that “all will be well,” because “I cannot believe that Providence intends the Confederate States for a subjugated nation.” Even after the fall of Richmond in April 1865, one diehard expected divine aid, claiming, “through His Omnipotent power we will yet triumph.” Whenever Confederates suffered major defeats in 1863, 1864 and 1865, nothing else—not European alliances, Copperheads, General Robert E. Lee or even devotion to the cause—could guarantee victory, but God’s protection could. Diehard Confederates saw God’s hand on every level of the war effort. The Almighty shielded them in combat, led their armies to victories, chastened the populace with defeats and oversaw their nation’s bid for self-government. As long as God was on the Confederates’ side, diehard Rebels believed they could not lose.

These steadfast convictions were supported by antebellum prosperity and the Second Great Awakening, an era of religious revival between 1800 and 1830, which had convinced many Southerners that God planned a glorious future for the region. Confederate propaganda reinforced this sense of destiny by evoking God in the Constitution, by incorporating the Almighty into national symbolism and by calling for numerous days of fasting, prayer and thanksgiving. Confederates’ trust in divine aid cannot be deemed fanatical or delusional. When diehard Rebels professed faith that God was on their side, they were following a fundamental American belief.

Besides God’s allegiance, Rebels believed they had another critical advantage: an enemy deemed too inept or evil to win a war directed by God. The most common name used for the Federals, Yankees, encapsulated the idea of a pathetic foe. The term lumped all Northerners into a caricature of New Englanders as hypocritical reformers, cold industrialists, money-grubbers and self-righteous Puritans. Branding men from Maine to Minnesota, regardless of their accent, vocation or ethnicity, as Yankees perpetuated the myth that Northerners were the natural-born adversaries of everything Southern.

Many Southerners accepted the “Cavalier legend,” not slavery, as the explanation for sectional dichotomies. The story claimed that opposing sides in the English Civil War had settled the regions. Roundheads colonized New England, while royalists, or Cavaliers, inhabited Virginia and the Carolinas. These warring parties were also described as ethnically distinct: The Yankee-Roundhead line was Saxon, and the planter-Cavalier ancestry was Norman. Derived from different blood and settled in disparate climates, each side developed unique traits and principles. Northerners formed a leveling, industrial, enterprising society, while Southerners created an aristocratic, agrarian, leisurely world reminiscent of English gentility. Although they worshipped the same God, Southerners saw Northerners not only as morally deficient but also as evil incarnate. By obscuring major commonalities and magnifying minor differences, white Southerners’ perceptions of the North precipitated secession and war.

When war erupted, Confederates lumped the enemy into two categories: cowards and ruthless barbarians. In the war’s early stages, every Southern recruit believed he was worth 10 Yankees. Early victories at Fort Sumter and Manassas convinced many Confederates that pasty Union men were no match for their steel. Federal armies were composed of mumbling immigrants, mill town boys who never owned a horse or gun, urban scum who enlisted for pay and New England snobs who polished their buttons and boots but failed as fighters. One Virginia artilleryman considered the enemy “starving Irish who fight for daily bread,” and “Western scoundrels…spawned in prairie mud.” They were supposedly unhealthy specimens shrunken by factory work who could not possibly beat legions of Southern men raised in the rustic outdoors. As one Georgia private expressed it, the “degraded set of Northern people” could never suppress “a noble and respectable squad of Southerners.” Throughout the early years of the war, this portrait of an inept enemy fostered the sense of an unconquerable Confederacy.

By 1864, as the war intensified, the enemy appears more frequently in Rebels’ writing as a barbaric invading horde. The Union’s hardening war policy and the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 amplified the barbaric image. Rebels believed that Yankee rulers harbored evil plans behind a facade of reunion and abolition. For many Confederates, restoring the Union seemed a Northern excuse to pillage and subjugate the South. Likewise, freeing the slaves really meant the elevation of blacks over whites, miscegenation between Yankee troops and slave wenches and the rape of Southern ladies by freedmen and Negroes in blue uniforms. In the words of one Virginia soldier, surrendering meant having “our property confiscated, our slaves emancipated, our leaders hung, and we become serfs in the land of our fathers.”

To the diehards, who staked everything on victory, such a fate was not an option. Still, the possibility of defeat weighed heavily on them. To bolster their cause as the conflict dragged on, Confederates increasingly searched for signs of divine favor and Union doom. But how could they square belief in those intangibles with the material devastation of 1864 and 1865?

Every soldier experiences at least two wars: the chaotic, confined and confusing war that surrounds him, and the distant war that touches far-off campaigns, the home fronts and foreign affairs. To understand the diehards we need to recover their immediate war and their distant war. And we need to see the war from their vantage point: the worm’s-eye view.

Historians are prone to present a bird’s-eye view of battles. On battle maps, arrows, lines and other symbols represent the experiences of thousands of men in a way that connects everyone and everything to a sweeping, coherent narrative. But the soldiers who fought these campaigns (and their officers, too) lacked this big picture. Battles and other events seemed too close, too incomplete and too foggy for participants to discern much beyond their immediate surroundings. This uncertainty gave optimists room to dream—each new battle could be the one that decided the war, and any minor tactical gain could grow to strategic importance. From the bird’s-eye view, the Confederacy seemed doomed in 1864. From the worm’s-eye view, the rebellion appeared closer to victory that year than ever before.

Confederates who fought in 1864 preserved their myopic, hopeful perspective in their writings. Letters and diaries from Gettysburg show not only that Lee’s troops persisted without any premonition that they had lost the war but also that many men refused to believe they had lost the battle.

Quartermaster Edgeworth Bird, a plantation owner from Georgia, was so committed to refuting the idea that Gettysburg was a Confederate defeat that he devoted four letters to the subject in fewer than two weeks. Four days after the battle he stressed that the enemy was “impregnably posted…. They had rock walls built on the mountain side and tops.” Gettysburg’s terrain rose to great heights in Confederate memory. On July 12, Bird remembered “hurling our army against the heights and mountains of Gettysburg.”

One South Carolinian considered the enemy’s position “barren mountains, as formidable as Gibraltar.” These men practiced a double standard without hesitation. Confederates claimed victories at battles such as Fredericksburg, where terrain helped them achieve success, but when the enemy did so Rebels considered the engagement a draw. Lee’s men supported their arguments with inflated casualty figures. Gettysburg was the bloodiest battle of the war. The Union army lost 23,000 men, a quarter of its troops. The Confederates suffered worse. The battle cost Lee 28,000 killed, wounded or missing, more than a third of his army. Despite this carnage, Rebels who fought at Gettysburg were convinced that the enemy had lost more men. Edgeworth Bird heard “the Yankees acknowledge to a loss of thirty thousand.” He figured, “Ours could not have been half that.”

The aftermath of the battle seemed to support the Confederates’ rosy perspective. When the vestiges of Pickett’s division returned to their lines, Confederates prepared for a Federal counterattack. None came. Rebels stressed this fact to bolster the widespread opinion that the enemy soldiers would have suffered worse than Pickett’s men if they had been courageous enough to cross the same field. Bird pointed out that the Yankees “retreated at the same time our fellows fell back and did not attempt to follow up.” He claimed that “captured officers say they would have had to abandon all their positions [before Pickett’s charge], if [the Confederate bombardment] had kept on thirty minutes longer.” In other words, lack of ammunition caused the outcome to be less than a complete Confederate victory, and the enemy conceded this point.

Surgeon Spencer Welch of the 13th South Carolina Infantry also stressed in a letter the enemy’s refusal to attack: “On the night of [July] 3rd General Lee withdrew the army nearly to its original position, hoping, I suppose, that the enemy would attack him; but they didn’t dare come out of their strongholds, for well they knew what their fate would be if they met the Confederate Army of Virginia upon equal grounds.” Sergeant Reuben Pierson argued, “We whipped the enemy too badly for him to attempt to follow us” and surmised, “The yankees dread to hazard an engagement with the army under Genl. Lee on anything like fair ground; they know we are superior in valor to their men and therefore they always seek some advantages of position.” Such rationalizations transformed the defeat at Gettysburg into proof of Union cowardice and inferiority.

Although Rebel troops in the East convinced them- selves that Gettysburg was not a defeat, West- ern soldiers struggled to fathom the fall of Vicksburg. On July 4, 1863, Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton surrendered 30,000 Rebel defenders to Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. Within a week, Confederates raised the white flag over Port Hudson, La., and the entire Mississippi River returned to Union control. In his memoirs, Grant argued, “The fate of the Confederacy was sealed when Vicksburg fell.” Many historians agree.

The news at first staggered troops close to the disaster, but within weeks many of them regained their composure. Captain William Nugent at first reacted to the news with gloom and disgust but ultimately downplayed the significance of Vicksburg. Four days after the surrender, he wrote, “One thing is sure the River must be surrendered to the Yankees and our country now belongs to them by right of conquest.” Nugent expected that “the war will soon be terminated one way or another…and we will either be defeated absolutely or some compromise made that will restore the old Union.” Twenty days later, Nugent sounded like a new man—or, more accurately, like his old self. He had regained his faith in the cause and its ultimate triumph. “If I am not greatly mistaken,” he conjectured, “the possession of the River will prove a conquest barren of results.” A month after the surrender Nugent was sickened by civilians who “are almost ready now to submit absolutely to old Abe’s will and kiss the rod that strikes them.” He urged his wife, “Do not be discouraged, but with a firm reliance upon Almighty God, be trustful, hopeful.” By mid-August, Nugent had convinced himself that civilian gloom after Vicksburg was an “abnormal condition [that] will not continue long.” He predicted, “Men’s minds will very soon acquire a healthy tone,” as his had, “and if they will only exert their influence to keep stragglers in the army we will soon conquer our enemies, achieve our independence & have peace.”

Diehards also tended to underestimate their own losses and to exaggerate enemy casualties, in part because Federal armies often suffered greater casualties and frequently left their dead and wounded in Southern hands. They followed strict definitions of a tactical victory as well: Whenever they retained control of the field or thwarted the enemy’s intentions, Confederates declared themselves the winners. And by focusing on the current situation, many Rebels missed the greater implications of a series of engagements. General Joseph E. Johnston’s men, for example, claimed victories whenever they were able to repulse Sherman’s assaults during the Atlanta Campaign of 1864, but many Rebels failed to admit how their overall retreat toward Atlanta eclipsed such minor successes.

Two beliefs reinforced Southern soldiers’ optimism. First, Rebels maintained an unquestioning faith in most of their commanders. Even when they suffered severe hardships or high casualties, the troops seldom challenged Lee or Johnston’s decisions. This obedience muted criticism of how the campaigns were directed and freed the troops from explaining how success could be achieved. Even men who admitted that they saw no path to independence trusted their commanders to find a way.

Second, despite three years of oscillating fortunes and inconclusive campaigns—after the mammoth carnage of Shiloh, Antietam, Gettysburg and Chickamauga buried thousands but failed to destroy either army—many veterans still believed that a brilliant tactical success would decide the struggle. Even as the 1864 campaigns commenced, Rebels across the Confederacy predicted outcomes as bright and hopeful as the Southern springtime. Spencer Welch believed “if we whip the Yankees good again this spring they will quit in disgust.”

High estimations and genuine hopes for the upcoming campaigns resulted in part from the enormous troop reviews that Generals Lee and Johnston orchestrated. When the weather improved, the generals collected, inspected and displayed their forces so that the men could witness their armies’ size, precision and pride. With hundreds of unfurled flags, thousands of polished rifles and gleaming bayonets, legions of prancing cavalry, column after column of smart-stepping veterans, rows of cannons and a cadre of commanders atop beautiful steeds, reviews raised morale like no other events except victories and revivals.

Massive sham battles provided similar spectacles and gave the men practice at tactical maneuvers. Using blank cartridges, entire corps advanced and retreated against each other. After participating in several big combat simulations, Private Lafayette Orr told his brother, “We have better armies in the field now than we had twelve months ago, and we are better armed and better dissipland; and ower men are in better spirits.” The experience clearly emboldened the young man: “Why should we give up now whem so many of ower breave conmrads have fell and so much blud have been shed. I ask you as a brother fight it out to the last, never [give] up, and bee put on an [equal] footing with the negros. I [say] no. I will fight them ten years [illegible] indendence. I have never dissponded yet. I have passed through several hard fought battles, and I can tell you I have all ways stood to my post.”

In June 1864, Virginian Fred Fleet told his parents: “If you could only see the Army, you would never feel any anxiety about Richmond. Lee is stronger than when the fighting commenced & his men, as well as those of the gallant [P.G.T.] Beauregard are in the best possible trim.”

While diehards were trying to make sense of their immediate surroundings, they also were piecing together a picture of the distant war as best they could from scraps of information they found in telegrams, official reports, letters from home, newspapers and political speeches. Rumors infiltrated all these sources, and diehards spread the gossip through camp. As one Rebel explained, reports were “transmitted to us by the ‘grape vine telegraph,’ a machine that can be worked by any one,” and “the most ridiculous rumor will be operated as a fact after going a few yards.”

Any lowly private could spread potent rumors that promised to unveil conditions obscured by distance and military secrecy. And as trivial as rumors may seem, their effect on armies and society was profound. Whether true or false, news traveled far, fast and uncensored; frequently the rumors became unsubstantiated stories in the South’s partisan press.

During the spring of 1864, rumors of military success multiplied. “As the landscape changed from brown to green,” author Stephen Crane explained, “the army awakened, and began to tremble with eagerness at the noise of rumors.” Troops near and far claimed victories whenever the Army of Northern Virginia fought. Not surprisingly, inflated reports from the Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House and Cold Harbor coursed through the Confederate grapevine. Other more bizarre rumors demonstrate the depths of Rebel hopes for the Virginia theater. Though Grant’s enormous army was pinning Lee’s defenders within earshot of the capital, South Carolinian David Crawford spread rumors that Grant was losing control of his men. Crawford told his mother that the enemy “is pretty well demoralized, it was reported that they were fighting themselves.” Rumor had it that Union soldiers were “liquored to fight” and issued bogus reports to boost their flagging confidence. Crawford heard from Yankee prisoners that Grant had falsely reported the capture of Richmond and Petersburg.

Other rumors spread that Grant had promised to dine in Richmond on particular dates. When the appointed dates passed, Lee’s soldiers relished such stories as proof that the enemy would never take the capital. In one account, the general sent word to Lee that “he expected to dine in the city” on June 18. Lee replied that Grant “would sup in h—ll.” Weeks later, the story was that Grant “intended to take his 4th of July dinner in Richmond.” Cavalryman James Blackman Ligon declared, “If he gets even a lunch in Petersburg, it will surprise me. “

In July an even better rumor captivated Confederates: Grant was dead. A Texas cavalryman serving in Louisiana shared the report with his father. The soldier had heard the rumor from a friend who claimed that a captain had seen an official dispatch from General Lee reporting that “Grant made desperate assaults upon Richmond and was defeated and tis said led the last one himself and was killed.” The Texan thought the story had merit because it “accords with the report of a woman from Vicksburg that the flag was at half mast on account of the death of Grant.” Even better, the story was “corroborated” by a lieutenant colonel who had left Richmond shortly before the attacks. According to the Texan, the colonel reported “Grant’s army was completely routed? and that ours was in pursuit.” The cavalryman thought this “glorious news” but admitted, “It seemed too good to believe.”

Grant’s death was reported again later that month. This time he was watching Union shells explode over Petersburg when a shot from a Rebel cannon tore off his arm, causing him to bleed to death on the surgeon’s table later that day, July 17, 1864. Virginia artilleryman James Albright joked, “Grant is still dead; but comes to life occasionally.”

Generals encouraged their troops’ fascination with minor and distant victories. While soldiers fought through the mud and horror of Spotsylvania Court House, Lee twice alerted his troops of recent success in the trans-Mississippi and the Shenandoah Valley. Private John Walters noted the events in his diary: “Today a congratulatory order from General Lee was read to the troops regarding the successes of Kirby Smith and Price in the Trans-Mississippi Department, and Imboden, James, and Morgan in the Valley.” According to an Alabama soldier who heard Lee’s congratulatory order, the general claimed to have “official information” of Frederick Steele’s surrender to Sterling Price. Whether or not he intended to do so, Lee greatly increased the bogus rumor’s credibility. The following day, “another order…from general Lee was read to the army regarding the victory of Breckinridge over Sigel in the Valley.” Lee also officially congratulated Beauregard for his role in saving Richmond and Petersburg that May.

Confederates believed the war could be won in countless ways: a decisive victory, a series of stalemates, foreign intervention, a collapse on Wall Street, secession of the West and a Northern peace movement were all popular means to independence. The most likely possibility in 1864 centered on the presidential election. Bizarre rumors of sagging Union morale depicted more than despondency: They portrayed treason and mutiny at the heart of the enemy’s war effort.

Rebel soldiers anticipated the results of the Democratic convention as if the nomination itself could settle the war. A private in South Carolina wrote that “yesterday and today is big with interest to our country. Oh how earnestly do I pray that peace measures may prevail at the Chicago Convention.” The next day Creed Thomas Davis recorded, “The learned Howitzers are already discussing [the convention’s] probable results on the war.” Though Rebels’ expectations were too high, men stuck in the trenches nourished each other’s dreams that something as faraway and bloodless as the presidential campaign could win the war for them and send them home.

When reasonable hopes for a Democratic victory and a negotiated peace disappeared, many Confederates predicted far-fetched scenarios that sustained their optimism. Many believed that a Lincoln reelection might result in tidal waves of disunion, with fortuitous results. “There is a possibility of the Pacific States leaving the Old Union to form a Confederacy of their own,” contended Walters, “and in this case the Northwestern States will most probably cut loose from the Eastern States and this of itself would end the war.” When the election’s outcome went against their early hopes, they modified their predictions to sustain their faith.

By 1865, when military triumph and Union internal revolt seemed improbable if not impossible, some Confederates focused on the last remaining source of victory: Europe. Others admonished their countrymen to unite and secure their independence. Enraged by civilian melancholy or by Lincoln’s stark demands, many regiments gathered to reprove naysayers, denounce peace negotiations and rededicate their lives to the cause. As members of the Staunton Artillery declared on February 1, 1865, “The despondency talked of does not exist in the army.” The Virginians were “determined never to acquiesce in any accommodation short of independence.” The unit’s members proclaimed: “We believe this to be the spirit of the whole army, and we appeal to the people of our loved homes to respond to it.”

Because the soldiers sent their resolutions to newspapers and the Confederate Congress, these records illustrate how, during the country’s darkest hour, the veterans directly addressed the country with familiar themes: faith in providential deliverance, perceptions of a barbaric enemy and warped, unrealistic views of the military situation. Their resolutions provided litanies of Confederate invincibility.

The 14th Virginia Infantry declared that anyone who abandoned the Confederacy was “unworthy to breathe the air of freedom, and should, with his posterity, be the serfs of serfs, to the remotest generation.” According to the diehards, a nation that quit its struggle for independence deserved infamy for all of history—biblical bondage would plague such a country for centuries. But “the unabated fervor of the veterans of our armies,” as the Virginians put it, still stood between the Confederacy and the basest subjugation.

On the day he surrendered, one North Carolina captain prayed that God would yet strike against “this motley crew who have waged upon us so unjust so barbarous a warfare.”

Another North Carolinian, Reuben Wilson, who was stuck in a Union hospital with a leg wound received just days before Appomattox, vowed with “the fire of revenge flying from my eyes like sparks from a furnace” to take the oath of allegiance so that he could help to send “good men” to state conventions and Washington. Wilson reasoned that “if every Southern state will send two good senators we will…be able to check the republican party in their wild schemes.”

Letters such as Wilson’s caution us against overstating the trauma of defeat. By May 1865, Wilson was already shifting from wartime to postwar defiance, from fighting Yankees on battlefields to resisting them on election day. Diehards funneled the central elements of their wartime culture—Southern righteousness and Northern barbarity—into the myth of the Lost Cause. White Southerners saw defeat as providential; they viewed their trials in biblical terms and looked forward to resurrection and redemption. Meanwhile, Reconstruction’s corrupt carpetbaggers, black armies of occupation, and meddlesome Federal agents seemed to confirm Northern immorality and justify Southern defiance.

Diehards’ persistence complicates the legacy of the Civil War. The most popular studies of the conflict depict a struggle that strengthened the nation and expanded equality as America transformed itself in the fires of fratricide. Although that approach makes for a compelling story, it does not explain how the war looked to millions of Americans. Missing are the broken promises of emancipation, intense hatreds and persistent Southern defiance that darkened the war and unraveled its conclusion. And though diehard Rebels did not change the war’s outcome, they did shape the South’s reaction to defeat.

Historians often stress how much the Civil War and Reconstruction changed the South. For example, C. Vann Woodward counted “slavery and secession, independence and defeat, emancipation and military occupation, reconstruction and redemption” as the major disruptions Southerners faced. According to Woodward, “Southerners, unlike other Americans, repeatedly felt the solid ground of continuity give way under their feet.”

The ground under their feet may have shifted, but white Southern minds hardly budged a bit. On this point, W.J. Cash was correct. “If this war had smashed the Southern world,” Cash argued, “it had left the essential Southern mind and will…entirely unshaken.” Rebels responded to anomie as most people do, by clinging to their innermost convictions. The Federal government could plant troops in the former Confederates states and enforce changes in Southern politics and economics, but it could not change white Southern culture. That remained unconquered.

 

Originally published in the December 2007 issue of Civil War Times. To subscribe, click here.  

, , , ,



Sponsored Content: