Invisible Southerners: Ethnicity in the Civil War

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Most Southerners who fought in the Civil War were native born, white, and Confederate. However, thousands with other ethnic backgrounds also took a stand--and not always for the South. Invisible Southerners recounts the wartime experiences of the region's German Americans, Native Americans, and African Americans. As Anne J. Bailey looks at how such outsiders responded to demands on their loyalties, she recaptures the atmosphere of suspicion and prosecession, proslavery sentiment in which they strove to understand, and be understood by, their neighbors.

Divisions within groups complicated circumstances even after members had cast their lot with the Union or Confederacy. Europe's slavery-free legacy swayed many German Americans against the South. Even so, one pro-Union German soldier could still look askance at another, because he was perhaps from a different province in the Old Country or of a different religious sect. Creeks and Cherokees faced wartime questions made thornier by tribal rifts based on wealth, racial mixture, and bitter memories of their forced transport to the Indian Territory decades earlier. The decision was easiest for former slaves, says Bailey, but the consequences more dire. They joined the Union Army in search of freedom and a new life--often to be persecuted by Yankee soldiers and, if captured, punished severely by Rebels.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A lively introduction to ethnic and racial diversity during the Civil War era. In a work that nicely synthesizes existing scholarship and also presents new information, Bailey explains how German Americans, Native Americans, and African Americans all became part of the Confederate story. For many Civil War buffs, this volume will be an eye-opener."--George C. Rable, University of Alabama

"By exploring a much-neglected but important facet of the war, Bailey has taken Civil War literature beyond battlefield and biography. Her analysis of southern-born Native Americans, German Americans, and African Americans provides a window into the ethnic dimensions of the conflict, while conveying the essence of the complexities of the war and more importantly the patterns of adaptation ethnic groups and native-born Americans used in fighting for the same cause. Drawing on an array of excellent primary and secondary sources, Bailey has provided a thoughtful and lucid account of the motivations for fighting and staying the course of war. Although small in size, this well-conceived book is grand in scope and an enjoyable book that fills a neglected area of Civil War history."--Stephen D. Engle, author of Struggle for the Heartland

"With deft strokes, Bailey redraws the profile of the "southerner" during the Civil War era. . . . Bailey's little book does much to suggest why it is important now to bring the outsiders into Civil War and southern history."--Journal of Southern History

“[T]his book is a good addition to the field of ethnic studies in America's bloodiest war and is of value to both scholars and the general public."--Alabama Review

"Invisible Southerners is a good historical work and will inspire future researchers to consider the role of the South's often neglected citizens."--North & South

Invisible Southerners is useful read for anyone interested in the social aspects of the war, black men in Union service, and domestic tensions within the Confederacy.”—A.A. Nofi, StrategyPage

“A useful read for anyone interested in the social aspects of the war, the black men in Union service, and domestic tensions within the Confederacy.”—NYMAS Reviews

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Anne J. Bailey is a professor of history at Georgia College and State University. Her many books include War and Ruin and The Chessboard of War.
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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Broken promises : German immigrants and the burden of America's Civil War 1
Ch. 2 The war within : the divided loyalties of native Americans 24
Ch. 3 In the cause of freedom : Southern Blacks in a Northern army 47
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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2008

    Non-supported personal opinion

    Disappointing for its lack of primary references and excess of non-supported personal opinion. This is a very narrow view of only selected ethnic groups and what the author seems to think these groups thought. The author is absolutely right in her assertion that ethnic groups have been overlooked but she never acknowledged that political correctness refuses modern-day mention of that fact. Note that the old Confederate statue at Arlington shows a faithful black mammy, a slave marching with his master and a black soldier.Her viewpoints on Germans in Texas are unsupported. Her statements on the Indian tribes ignore the facts of Indian support for the Confederacy and her prejudices against Confederate Indians is obviously based on her conjecture and seems to have no basis in fact. Her biggest slight is to blacks who remained loyal to the South and in fact often fought for it. The author even mis-states what the Emancipation Proclamation really said. These and other errors and omissionsand lack of primary sources actually put into question much of that this author wrote. The author had the opportunity to help spread knowledge of this oft-overlooked area but she unfortunately failed the test.

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