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Inside the Confederate Nation

Essays in Honor of Emory M. Thomas

Lesley J. Gordon

Publication Year: 2005

In The Confederacy as a Revolutionary Experience (1970) and The Confederate Nation (1979), Emory Thomas redefined the field of Civil War history and reconceptualized the Confederacy as a unique entity fighting a war for survival. Inside the Confederate Nation honors his enormous contributions to the field with fresh interpretations of all aspects of Confederate life—nationalism and identity, family and gender, battlefront and home front, race, and postwar legacies and memories. Many of the volume's twenty essays focus on individuals, households, communities, and particular regions of the South, highlighting the sheer variety of circumstances southerners faced over the course of the war. Other chapters explore the public and private dilemmas faced by diplomats, policy makers, journalists, and soldiers within the new nation. All of the essays attempt to explain the place of southerners within the Confederacy, how they came to see themselves and others differently because of secession, and the disparities between their expectations and reality.

Published by: Louisiana State University Press

Series: Conflicting Worlds: New Dimensions of the American Civil War

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v-viii

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pp. ix-xi

IN A TALK AT A CITADEL CONFERENCE IN CHARLESTON IN 2000, Emory Thomas mused over when the last book would be written about the Civil War. “How long, O Lord,” he asked, “will this plethoric outpouring of books about the Civil War continue?” Rather than speculate as to whether and when that landmark publication might be, Thomas suggested that it might...

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pp. 1-10

IN JANUARY 1861, AS THE UNION CRUMBLED AROUND HIM, PRES. James Buchanan turned in exasperation to Sen. Robert Toombs of Georgia. “Good God, Mr. Toombs,” the president exclaimed, “do you mean that I am in the midst of a revolution?” “Yes, sir,” the senator replied. “More than that, you have been there for a year and have not yet found it out.”1 ...

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Emory M. Thomas and the Confederate Imagination

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pp. 11-27

Emory Thomas harbors a Confederate imagination. Locating the past in the present, his sensibility is rooted in his birthplace—an a priori understanding that combines with his lifelong academic inquiry into the southern way of life. This is not to invoke any such miasma of geographical determinism as advanced by U. B. Phillips and others; instead we offer it as a complement to Thomas’s credentials ...


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Striking a Revolution’s First Blow

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pp. 31-40

IN HIS INAUGURAL ADDRESS GIVEN MARCH 4, 1861, TUCKED between the leaves of the olive branch of peaceful reconciliation with the South, Abraham Lincoln inserted his determination to use “all the power at my disposal” to hold U.S. property and enforce its laws—everywhere. The right of secession did not exist, he said; the Union was perpetual and indissoluble.1 ...

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A Revolution in Raleigh: The Early Transformation of a Confederate State Capital, 1861

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pp. 41-58

SHORTLY AFTER 5:30 P.M. ON MAY 20, 1861, A MAN STEPPED ONTO the west balcony of North Carolina’s state capitol building in Raleigh. Making his way through the throng of people gathered there, he walked to the railing and dropped a white handkerchief. “Deafening shouts” of approval rose from the hundreds of spectators gathered on the grounds below. ...

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Shades of Nation: Confederate Loyalties in Southeastern Virginia

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pp. 59-77

IN The Confederate Nation, HISTORIAN EMORY M. THOMAS CREATES A powerful image of Confederate officials in their nation’s capital awaiting news of the outcome of combat on the plains of Manassas in the summer of 1861: Back in Richmond it had been an anxious day for a lot of people. The capital was empty of soldiers, and the fact that July 21 was a Sunday accentuated the ominous quiet. ...

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The Literary Shaping of Confederate Identity: Daniel R. Hundley and John Beauchamp Jones in Peace and War

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pp. 78-96

THERE IS NO EVIDENCE TO SUGGEST THAT DANIEL R. HUNDLEY and John Beauchamp Jones ever met one another. Their private correspondence and numerous publications make no mention of the other. Nevertheless Hundley and Jones had much in common. Both men were born and raised in the slave South yet had been living in the North on the eve of the Civil War. ...

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The Saratoga That Wasn’t: Confederate Recognition and the Effect of Antietam Abroad

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pp. 97-110

THE CAMPAIGN AND BATTLE OF ANTIETAM HAD CONSEQUENCES that reached far beyond the mountains, valleys, and fields of western Maryland where the fighting took place. Indeed the reverberations of this Confederate defeat were heard across the Atlantic in London and Paris. Like the secessionists of 1776 who founded the United States...

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“Witness the Redemption of the Army”: Reenlistments in the Confederate Army of Tennessee, January–March 1864

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pp. 111-127

IN THE SPRING OF 1864, THE THREE-YEAR TERMS OF ENLISTMENT of many soldiers in the Confederate army were set to expire. The question of whether these troops would reenlist voluntarily caused much anxiety in the army and on the southern home front. Although the Confederate Congress passed legislation extending all enlistments for the duration of the war...

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The Essential Nationalism of the People: Georgia’s Confederate Congressional Election of 1863

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pp. 128-146

MANY YEARS AFTER THE CIVIL WAR, EX-CONFEDERATE congressman Hiram P. Bell recalled an amendment he had offered on the floor of the Confederate House of Representatives, probably in the spring of 1864. He remembered attempting in a night session to exempt “the products of the garden, orchard and dairy, when used for the support of the family...

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“The Chrysalis State”: Slavery, Confederate Identity, and the Creation of the Border South

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pp. 147-164

ON JANUARY 1, 1862, COL. CHARLES WHITTLESEY OF THE 20TH Ohio Infantry and commander of what later archivists denoted as “counterinsurgency” in and around the Ohio River town of Warsaw, Kentucky, forty-five miles downstream from Cincinnati, received a short letter from James M. Vanice...


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The Moral Imagination of Confederate Family Politics

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pp. 167-187

TRADITIONAL SENTIMENTS OF HONOR RESONATED WITH mid-nineteenth-century southern notions of virtue even though, as noted by historian Bertram Wyatt-Brown, the ethics of honor competed with evangelical and Primitive Baptist moral norms until the Civil War. Old South honor referred to the ritual defense of personal, familial, racial, and sectional pride...

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Courting Nationalism: The Wartime Letters of Bobbie Mitchell and Nettie Fondren

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pp. 188-208

CONFEDERATE NATIONALISM WAS MORE THAN AN ABSTRACT concept expounded by southern leaders in public forums. Its expression— devotion to the slave nation, belief in the superiority of the South over the North, faith in the Confederate military, confidence that independence would be achieved...

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“And for the Widow and Orphan”: Confederate Widows, Poverty, and Public Assistance

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pp. 209-229

MARY ANN MOSELEY AND BENJAMIN BAIRD WERE MARRIED IN January 1862. Their wedding took place less than a year after Benjamin enlisted in Company G, 21st Virginia Infantry—perhaps theirs was a marriage that was influenced by the heady romanticism that inspired many a southern union in the early days of the war. ...

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“Talking Heroines”: Elite Mountain Women as Chroniclers of Stoneman’s Raid, April 1865

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pp. 230-247

BY THE FALL OF 1865, CORNELIA PHILLIPS SPENCER WAS ALREADY at work on a book that would be published the following year, The Last Ninety Days of the War in North Carolina. The Chapel Hill widow took on this task at the suggestion of David Lowery Swain, former governor of the state and longtime president of the University of North Carolina. ...


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The Costliness of Discrimination: Medical Care for Black Troops in the Civil War

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pp. 251-271

DURING THE CIVIL WAR, BLACK SOLDIERS ENDURED DISCRIMINATION in a variety of forms. They served in segregated units and almost always under white officers. Enlistment bounties and pay were unequal for black troops throughout much of the war, and they had severely limited opportunity for promotion or appointment as commissioned officers. ...

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The Atlanta Campaign and the African American Experience in Civil War Georgia

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pp. 272-294

DURING THE PAST GENERATION KNOW LEDGE OF BLACK LIFE before and after emancipation has grown exponentially. One result has been a reconceptualization of the Civil War as not simply a military struggle with civilian consequences but as a key transitional episode in the story of American race relations...

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Half Slave, Half Free: Unionist Robert Webster in Confederate Atlanta

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pp. 295-315

IT MUST HAVE TAKEN ENORMOUS COURAGE FOR THE twelve-year-old “coloured boy” to walk up the marble steps into the U.S. Capitol in 1832. And it would have required resourcefulness and resolve on his part to find the Senate chamber. Once there, with some luck, he encountered Isaac Bassett, a page who owed his position to a senator from Massachusetts...

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“What Price Must We Pay for Victory?”: Views on Arming Slaves from Lynchburg, Virginia, to Galveston, Texas

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pp. 316-331

IN THE FALL OF 1864, THE BITTER WIND OF MILITARY DEFEAT whipped through the Confederacy and fanned an open and often heated debate concerning the introduction of slaves into the Confederate army. As long as the gray lines held firm, no one had to choose between slavery and independence, but stunning Union victories and thinning army ranks...


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“While the Participants Are Yet Alive”: The Association of Medical Officers of the Army and Navy of the Confederacy

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pp. 335-348

WHEN RICHMOND FELL TO THE FORCES OF ULYSSES S. GRANT ON April 2, 1865, considerable destruction ensued. Among the buildings incinerated were those housing the papers of the Confederate Surgeon General’s Office. Years later a small group of doctors who had served as Confederate medical officers during the Civil War were distressed that they could have no counterpart...

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When Charles Francis Adams Met Robert E. Lee: A Southern Gentleman in History and Memory

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pp. 349-360

FOR NEARLY FORTY-ONE OF HIS SIXTY-THREE YEARS, ROBERT E. Lee was a military man. Indeed, for a good part of those forty-one years, he was a military man par excellence. He was second in his class at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, fought brilliantly in the Mexican War, and of course ultimately became best known for his outstanding generalship...

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The Last Word

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pp. 361-362

NOTHING COULD BE MORE INAPPROPRIATE AS A LAST WORD IN A book about the Confederacy than a frosty note from New England. But I think the man being honored would understand. After all, he and I have traded postcards signed REL to USG, and the reverse, for years. If I was guilty of a biography of a general who did some damage...

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pp. 363-365

Editors and Contributors

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pp. 367-370


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pp. 371-381

E-ISBN-13: 9780807147962
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807132319

Page Count: 400
Publication Year: 2005

Series Title: Conflicting Worlds: New Dimensions of the American Civil War