Lincoln's Loyalists: Union Soldiers from the Confederacy

Lincoln's Loyalists: Union Soldiers from the Confederacy

by Richard Nelson Current, Current, Richard N. Current
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions


On April 15, 1861, two days after the fall of Fort Sumter, President Lincoln used the authority provided in a 1795 statute for "calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union." Requests for troops were sent by telegraph to all non-seceding states; Northern states complied immediately, but Lincoln received stern refusals from all four governors of the… See more details below

Overview


On April 15, 1861, two days after the fall of Fort Sumter, President Lincoln used the authority provided in a 1795 statute for "calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union." Requests for troops were sent by telegraph to all non-seceding states; Northern states complied immediately, but Lincoln received stern refusals from all four governors of the upper South. A typical response was that of Governor Isham G. Harris: "In such unholy crusade no gallant son of Tennessee will ever raise his sword." But as Richard Nelson Current shows in this pathbreaking book, many "sons of the South" did indeed raise arms against Dixie, and the result was decisive in the outcome of the Civil War.
The ranks of Union forces swelled by more than 100,000 men known to their friends as "loyalists" and to their enemies as "Tories." Despite the insistence of Southern governors, every Confederate state except South Carolina contributed at least a battalion of white troops for the Union Army. And individual South Carolinians joined Union regiments from other states. The presence of these forgotten men of the Civil War strengthened the Union, weakened the Confederacy, and played a large part in the eventual victory of North over South. While much deserved attention has been paid of late to black soldiers--both Northern and Southern--very little has been written or said about white southern supporters of the Union cause, and nothing has been hitherto published on the group as a whole. Relying almost entirely on primary sources, Current here opens the long-overdue investigation of these many Americans who, at great risk to themselves and their families, made a profound contribution to the preservation of the Union.
Besides providing the factual basis for Current's revealing account, the primary sources he has discovered--including letters, military dispatches, and personal memoirs--allow a wide variety of extremely articulate officers, soldiers, politicians, and ordinary citizens to speak to us directly across the years, bringing to life what was perhaps the most formative era of our nation's history. These myriad voices reveal a level of discontent over secession among Southern citizens little understood until now, and also demonstrate the insidious effect the defection of Southerners to the Union cause had on morale south of the Mason-Dixon line.
Current meticulously explores the history of the loyalists in each Confederate state during the war, weaving their stories into a rich and fascinating account of the conflicting claims of honor, conscience, and patriotism. In the end, the number of Southerners fighting for the Stars and Stripes equalled ten percent of the total Confederate army. Putting this striking figure in an new historical context, Current has written a book that will challenge old assumptions about why the North won the Civil War.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Nearly 100,000 men from Confederate states organized into battalions to fight with the armies of the North. These ``unknown soldiers of the Civil War'' represented 10% of the fighting force under Gen. Robert E. Lee's command, a significant loss to the strength of the South and an important resource for the North. They risked not only the dangers of war, but the certainty of being treated as deserters if taken prisoners. After the war their lives were endangered by the hostility of their embittered neighbors; some were beaten, ``hunted down like dogs'' or killed outright. There was little help from the North, struggling in the aftermath of Lincoln's death with the formidable problems of mending the nation. Although there is a considerable literature about the black soldiers who fought with the armies of the North, Current ( Those Terrible Carpetbaggers ) contends that little attention has been paid to these forgotten white Union loyalists. Drawing on overlooked sources, he provides an original and comprehensive, state-by-state account of their struggles and contributions. History Book Club alternate. (June)
Library Journal
White Southerners from every state in the Confederacy (except South Carolina) served in the Union forces during the Civil War, but no historical account of their activities existed before this outstanding book. Lincoln's Loyalists examines why these soldiers fought for the Union, how they fared in battle, how other soldiers--in both armies--treated them, and what kind of conditions their families endured. Noted Civil War scholar Current ( Arguing with Historians , LJ 10/15/87) honors the dedication of Southerners who opposed the Confederacy and took a stand against secession. For all Civil War collections. History Book Club alternate.--W. Walter Wicker, Louisiana Tech Univ., Ruston
Booknews
Presents numerous algorithms in simple algebraic form so as to be easily translatable into a variety of computer languages; addresses updating as new information becomes available and explains how to test linear hypotheses. Filling a major gap in the understanding of the important role of white southerners who fought for the Union during the Civil War, Current explores the history of the loyalists (or were known to their enemies) in each Confederate state during the war, merging the separate state stories into a compelling whole. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195084658
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
01/20/1994
Edition description:
REVISED
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.54(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >