Thursday, January 7, 2010

To Arms! Our Soil Must be Defended!

In spite of measurable social strife during the antebellum era, Tennessee's Confederate generation entered the Civil War fairly united. To be sure, a majority of the east Tennesseans, as well as a substantial number living near the western shore of the Tennessee River, sided with the Union. Most of the remainder enrolled under the Confederate banner. Youths volunteered, emboldened by patriotic fervor, excited by the god of adventure, and blinded to the carnage of combat. Rebel companies enlisted by communities where dissent was associated with treason, and failure to join was tainted with cowardice.

Class antagonisms were momentarily set aside in the confusion of crisis. "To arms!" Admonished a Hickman County colonel in his recruiting circular. "Our Southern soil must be defended. We must not stop to ask who brought about the war, who is at fault, but let us go and do battle… And then settle the question who is to blame."

Fred A Bailey, “Class and Tennessee's Confederate Generation,” The Journal Of Southern History Volume LI, No.1 (February 1985): 50.

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