Reluctant Rebels: The Confederates Who Joined the Army after 1861

Reluctant Rebels: The Confederates Who Joined the Army after 1861

by Kenneth W. Noe
     
 

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After the feverish mobilization of secession had faded, why did Southern men join the Confederate army? Kenneth Noe examines the motives and subsequent performance of "later enlisters." He offers a nuanced view of men who have often been cast as less patriotic and less committed to the cause, rekindling the debate over who these later enlistees were, why they joined,…  See more details below

Overview

After the feverish mobilization of secession had faded, why did Southern men join the Confederate army? Kenneth Noe examines the motives and subsequent performance of "later enlisters." He offers a nuanced view of men who have often been cast as less patriotic and less committed to the cause, rekindling the debate over who these later enlistees were, why they joined, and why they stayed and fought.

Noe refutes the claim that later enlisters were more likely to desert or perform poorly in battle and reassesses the argument that they were less ideologically savvy than their counterparts who enlisted early in the conflict. He argues that kinship and neighborhood, not conscription, compelled these men to fight: they were determined to protect their families and property and were fueled by resentment over emancipation and pillaging and destruction by Union forces. But their age often combined with their duties to wear them down more quickly than younger men, making them less effective soldiers for a Confederate nation that desperately needed every able-bodied man it could muster.

Reluctant Rebels places the stories of individual soldiers in the larger context of the Confederate war effort and follows them from the initial optimism of enlistment through the weariness of battle and defeat.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
An absorbing study. . . . Thought provoking. . . . This excellent book provides a more complete portrait of Johnny Reb. . . Highly recommended.--Choice

Compelling. . . . This superb study effectively engages previous scholarship and fills a neat niche in the literature.--America's Civil War

[Noe's] book is one to be studied and admired.--Journal of Southern History

Scholars and the large audience of Civil War readers will find interesting insights in [this] book.--H-Net Reviews

This fine study . . . answers questions about motivation and enlistment that have hovered over the field for generations. . . . The strengths of Noe's book lie in his clear prose, deep research, and persuasive analysis.--Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

Noe's deft analysis of primary sources…sheds light on a previously under-analyzed portion of the Confederate army….Reluctant Rebels will help readers better understand community, family, gender, and the complexity of Southern society during the Civil War.--The North Carolina Historical Review

Reluctant Rebels adds nuance and range in its answer to the well-worn question of why soldiers fought. It reminds readers of the varied motivations and experiences of Johnny Reb.--Arkansas Historical Quarterly

A valuable monograph, which will stand with books by James McPherson and Bell Wiley among standards on Confederate soldiers. . . . Noe presents insights not only into these late comers, but also into those who came early and remained throughout the war. . . . The publications of books like this one demonstrates the vitality of such study and the potential for public learning. . . . We need more books like this one to document facts.--Review of Politics

Noe provides his insights in a fair-minded manner. . . . We need more books like this one to document facts.--The Review of Politics

Those attracted to Civil War history and those interested in the interrelationships between culture and war in varied historical contexts should find this work of interest.--The Courier

A valuable monograph, which will stand with books by James McPherson and Bell Wiley among standard studies on Confederate soldiers….We need more books like this one to document facts.--The Review of Politics

Absorbing and thought-provoking. . . . Such impressive scholarly analysis and writing, coupled with quality design and materials, make this a captivating volume that all students of the Civil War in general and the Confederacy in particular will want to read.--Civil War News

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807895634
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
05/14/2010
Series:
Civil War America
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
File size:
4 MB

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
In this first-rate book, Noe carves out new terrain in a crowded field by identifying a significant new cohort of men to analyze: those who enlisted after the first wave of volunteering. Creating a new landmark in the historiography of the motivations of soldiers, Reluctant Rebels is an impressive work that captures the complex nature of the human condition.--William A. Blair, author of Cities of the Dead: Contesting the Memory of the Civil War in the South, 1865-1914

Meet the Author

Kenneth W. Noe is Draughon Professor of History at Auburn University. He is author or editor of five books, including Perryville: This Grand Havoc of Battle.

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