Living a Big War in a Small Place
Spartanburg, South Carolina, during the Confederacy
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of South Carolina Press
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Table of Contents
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List of Illustrations
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This small book is a distillation of material gathered over many years of studying and writing about the history of South Carolina and Spartanburg in particular. The contribution of the best of researchers, my wife Frances, to my last book, Gentleman Merchants, and this one is deep and invaluable. She found primary sources I surely would have missed. Since the material on which this book rests ...
Part One: The District
People in Spartanburg District were in trouble. Life had become defined by scar-city, impossibly high prices, bad-tempered neighbors, and hard living. Many peo-ple were short on food. Salt, necessary to keep meat edible over time, was difficult to find and even then too expensive. Many lived in constant anxiety that a father or son off at war might be killed or wounded at any time. Often people blamed ...
One: The Setting
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Located in the northwestern part of South Carolina among the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Spartanburg District is made up of rolling hills drained by three river systems: the Pacolet, the Tyger, and along its most north-eastern border with York District, the Broad. In the antebellum period half of the adjoining county of present day Cherokee was part of Spartanburg District. Dotted by shoals and in the dry season, shallows, none of the rivers is navigable to ...
Two: Spartanburg Wages War
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Secession from the Union meant the independence long sought after by many of the men and women of Spartanburg District. Others in the area were ambivalent about the Union for many years prior to the 1850s. Leaders of the pro-Union factions in South Carolina were for the most part upcountry people, but during the decade of the 1850s political events hardened the attitudes of the people of Spartanburg into a strong distrust of the northern and western parts ...
Three: Spartanburg Beleaguered
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...many residents of Spartanburg accepted the privations of war because they believed they were fighting for the right. But except for the initial year of fighting and the spring of 1863, when it seemed Vicksburg would withstand fed-eral onslaught and General Robert E. Lee was invading the North, the war was depressing. After 1863, when Vicksburg was lost, General Lee repulsed at Get-tysburg, and General Braxton Bragg embarrassed at Chattanooga, people feared ...
Four: Slavery during the War
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Slavery had existed in Spartanburg from the time of the first settlements in the middle of the 18th century. By 1860 the district?s total population was about twenty-eight thousand, and the village population was about one thousand to one thousand two hundred. About one third of the district?s total population were slaves (there were about fifty free African Americans). Close to one-third of the white heads of households owned slaves. Close to one-half of the slave owners ...
Part Two: Individuals
The following stories are about individual residents of Spartanburg District dur-ing the Civil War. The tales provide insight into the impact of war on even the smallest of communities, whether the sites of battles or not. People make history and historians largely deal with people in the aggregate, for the national and re-gional narrative is the sum of the actions and reactions of individuals. Here the ...
Five: The Slave Catherine and the Kindness of Strangers?
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On the 25th of January, 1865, David Lipscomb, a resident of Northern Spar-tanburg District, formally accused his slave, Catherine, before the local mag-istrate, Davis Moore, of the crime of arson.1 The magistrate summoned eight local slave holders to appear at David Lipscomb?s farm on the first day of Febru-ary 1865 for Catherine?s trial. On that day in February five of the eight freehold-ers were chosen to act as judge and jury to try Catherine on the indictment which ...
Six: Emily Lyles Harris, Reluctant Farmer
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...emily Lyles Harris?s husband, David Harris, started a journal in 1855 to keep an accurate record of his farm work so he could eventually learn the very best time and method for undertaking his various tasks. With his wife, children, and ten slaves, he worked one hundred acres of a five hundred acre farm located eight miles southeast of the village of Spartanburg. In addition to recording his daily work, David often used his journal to comment on current affairs, family life, and ...
Seven: A Question of Loyalty
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...in 1861 Elihu Toland of Glenn Springs published a handbill entitled the ?12 We Wonders? under the pseudonym ?Brutus.? According to court documents read in the 1980s but which are no longer accessible,1 a farmer named Benjamin Finch believed himself to be one of the targets of this handbill. The publication was distributed among Spartanburg?s Confederate troops at the front in Virginia by a cabal of Finch?s enemies, among whom was a Dr. Gideon H. King, a resident ...
Eight: Having Fled War
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...as soon as war broke out the coastal areas of the Confederacy became vulner-able to Union attack. President Abraham Lincoln determined early on to blockade the Southern coast which was over 3000 miles long. Even as the North-ern navy grew and the blockade became increasingly effective, it could never truly prevent all shipping from Southern ports. The South Carolina coast was subject to invasion because of all the rivers and marshes that covered it, and as early as ...
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War had not been the short-lived, adventurous, and triumphant experience al-most everyone in Spartanburg had expected?not for the soldier in the field, and not for the people at home. Instead, it had necessitated unexpected sacrifice and caused social turmoil?it had proven hard and unforgiving. So it was for the Confederate and the border states, and so it was for the people of Spartanburg. ...
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About the Author
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PHILIP N. RACINE is the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of History Emeritus at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He is the editor of The Fiery Trail: A Union Officer?s Account of Sherman?s Last Campaign, Piedmont Farmer: The Journals of David Golightly Harris, 1855?1870, and Gentlemen Merchants: A Charleston Family?s Odyssey, 1828?1870, and author of Seeing Spartanburg: A ...
Page Count: 136
Publication Year: 2013