27 March 2011

Rewriting History On Our Confederate Dead



"Historian Josh Howard is playing with fire in the heart of the old Confederacy, with a scholarly finding that could rewrite the history of the Civil War, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday. For more than a century, North Carolina has proudly claimed that it lost more soldiers than any other Southern state in the nation's bloodiest conflict. But after meticulously combing through military, hospital and cemetery records, the historian is finding the truth isn't so clear-cut."

10 comments:

Douglas Hill said...

"...his research has proved a longstanding Palmetto State claim that not one white South Carolinian fought for the federal government during the war."

I've no choice but to love that, a new one on me.

By the numbers as I've always understood them, Florida gave more sons to The Cause than any other state- by percentage of population with a "free" population of only 78,679 in 1860; next least (again, "free"ly) populated Southern state was S.C. with 301,302. I wonder if that statistic will stand up to the researchers.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Hey Doug. It is interesting research. I wonder if there's comparable studies on the Union? If not, why not?

Douglas Hill said...

Perhaps not the same sense of loss, or place?

Chaps said...

Richard: your question to Doug is very interesting. It is similar to asking why the SCV has 2-3 times the membership of SUVCV and why at reenactments, some Southrons often have to play yankees? I think I know the answers but I'd be interested to hear your take.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Chaps - I raised that issue in a previous post about the dominance of Southern culture in the United States. See:

http://oldvirginiablog.blogspot.com/2010/07/dominance-of-southern-culture.html

I have a theory, but not a definite answer to that question. Southerners seem to be, by nature, much more interested in their heritage. Part of that is the "sense of place" thing which I've posted about. The Confederacy also seems to be more interesting as far as popular culture goes due to their "bad boy" status.

I've pointed this out before too. Just check the ads in most CW related magazines. The vast majority are for items related to the Confederacy and her heroes.

Actually, SCV membership is around 10 times that of the SUV, though the army numbers were, of course, greatly less.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Doug - exactly. See my reply to Chaps which I posted before reading your comment. And, though this is less true than it used to be, Southerners are much more attached to their locale than are our yankee friends. Southerners tend to stay put longer (over generations) than do Northerners. More rural, etc.

Chaps said...

Richard-

Wish I had remembered your post about Southern culture before commenting. I agree that a lot has to do with the sense of place and heritage. I also think that we have held on to our place and culture because of our unique (for Americans) experience of being defeated and occupied by a brutal invader. I think those who experienced that tend to hold on to what we had that was taken. "...look for it now only in books for it is no more than a dream remembered, a civilization Gone with the Wind." More to it than that but reaction to trauma is an important factor.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Chaps - true. I still recall a local wife of a farmer telling me a few years ago that I was not allowed to mention Custer's name in her home. She still recalled, with great bitterness, the story told her by her grandfather of an allegedly drunk Custer torching a barn full of hay on their farm.

Douglas Hill said...

It's best not to mention Sheridan, Custer or Hunter in my home, at least not without advanced warning ;^). That doesn't stem from any personal lineal offense, but rather just the Big Picture.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

I have no problem with mentioning their names in my home - as long as their name is preceded by selective adjectives.

;o)