Diehard Rebels: The Confederate Culture of Invincibility

Diehard Rebels: The Confederate Culture of Invincibility

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by Jason Phillips
     
 


Well into the final months of the Civil War, countless Confederate soldiers earnestly believed that victory lay just around the corner. How could this be? Jason Phillips reveals the deeply ingrained attitudes that shaped the reality of these diehards not only during the war but in the subsequent era, when the myth of the Lost Cause was born.

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Overview


Well into the final months of the Civil War, countless Confederate soldiers earnestly believed that victory lay just around the corner. How could this be? Jason Phillips reveals the deeply ingrained attitudes that shaped the reality of these diehards not only during the war but in the subsequent era, when the myth of the Lost Cause was born.

Much is known about what Confederate soldiers fought for; far less is understood about why they fought on despite long odds and terrible costs. Drawing on soldiers’ letters and diary entries from 1863 to 1865, Diehard Rebels explains how religious dogma and perceptions of Union barbarity and ineptitude affirmed in many soldiers a view of an indomitable South. Within the soldiers’ closely circumscribed world, other elements reinforced convictions that the South was holding its own against great but surmountable odds. Close comradeship and disorienting combat conditions were factors, says Phillips, as well as conclusions drawn from images and experiences contradicting the larger reality, such as battlefields littered with enemy corpses and parade-ground spectacles of Confederate military splendor.

Troops also tended to perceive the course of the war in far-off theaters, the North, and overseas in positive ways. In addition, diehards were both consumers and conduits of rumors, misinformation, and propaganda that allowed them to envision a war that was rosier than the truth but still believable. Instead of crippling diehards after defeat, old notions of southern superiority helped them uphold southern honor. The central elements of Confederate invincibility fueled white southern defiance after surrender and evolved into the Lost Cause.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780820328362
Publisher:
University of Georgia Press
Publication date:
11/28/2007
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x (h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author


Jason Phillips is an associate professor of history at Mississippi State University. He has also taught at Texas A&M University.

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments ix
Introduction: Southern Invincibility and Confederate Defeat 1
1 The Smile of Providence: Confederate Religion and Invincibility 9
2 The Mask of Cain: Enemy Images in Rebel Minds 40
3 Without a Murmur: Confederate Endurance and the Immediate War 76
4 Gray Grapevines: Rumors and the Distant War 116
5 The Face of Surrender: Diehard Rebels in 1865 147
Conclusion: The Aftermath of Invincibility 178
Notes 191
Selected Bibliography 231
Index 251

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