Lincoln's Loyalists

Lincoln's Loyalists : Union Soldiers from the Confederacy

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Though much has been written about the southern black regiments organized by the Union during the Civil War, very little has been written about the white Southerners who risked their lives to fight the Confederacy in opposition to seccession. Over 100,000 men - ten per cent of General Lee's fighting force originally enlisted in the Confederate ranks - fought in the service of North. The majority of these men - over seventy per cent - came from Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, but every state in the Confederacy (except South Carolina) provided at least one battalion of white troops for the Union Army. Meticulously exploring the history of loyalists (known as "tories" to their enemies) in each Confederate State, Current provides an original and comprehensive account of this seldom examined topic. He examines why these soldiers fought for the Union, how they fared in battle, and the considerable personal risks endured by both themselves and their families. This book is intended for those interested in the American Civil more

Product details

  • Paperback | 262 pages
  • 132.08 x 200.66 x 17.78mm | 226.8g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • endpaper maps, bibliography
  • 0195084659
  • 9780195084658

Review Text

A meticulously researched treatment of a topic seldom examined by historians: the white Southerners, contemptuously called "Tories" by their Confederate brethren, who served in the Federal armies during the Civil War. As Current (Those Terrible Carpetbaggers, 1987, etc.) points out, the overwhelming majority of the more than 100,000 white Southerners in the US forces came from staunchly Unionist areas of eastern Tennessee and western Virginia (including the new state of West Virginia), but every Confederate state except South Carolina contributed regiments to the US Army. Large areas of predominately Union sentiment existed in North Carolina, Alabama, and Texas, and US armies conducted successful conscription programs in occupied areas in Louisiana and Arkansas. Current emphasizes that many of these men took up arms for the Union at considerable personal risk - they and their families faced opprobrium and ostracism in their communities, and, if captured, often harsher treatment than other Federal prisoners (if, as was often the case, they joined the US Army after deserting the Confederate forces, they were executed if recaptured). Noting the mixed war record of the pro-Union Southerners - some, like the First Alabama Calvary, the First Tennessee Calvary, and the Seventh Virginia Infantry, served with distinction, while others performed more unevenly - Current argues persuasively that, whatever their record, Southern loyalists represented a loss to the Confederacy even more grievous than the black regiments organized by the Union, "since the whites composed a part of the Confederacy's military potential and the blacks did not: the war was over before the Jefferson Davis government got around to employing blacks as soldiers." A deeper study of the sociology of pro-Union sentiment in the South would have enhanced the text; but, still, an excellent and significant contribution to Civil War literature. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

About Richard Nelson Current

About the Author Richard Nelson Current is University Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. His books include Those Terrible Carpetbaggers, The Lincoln Nobody Knows, and Lincoln and the First Shot. In 1956 he won the Bancroft prize for Lincoln the President, co-authored with J.C. more

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12 ratings
3.91 out of 5 stars
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3 25% (3)
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