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Appalachian Women and the Civil War

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An account of the experience of women of the Southern Appalachian region during the ...... More...
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Paper Abstract:
An account of the experience of women of the Southern Appalachian region during the Civil War. Their status. The context of their experiences. Major concerns of the women compared with men's concerns.

Paper Introduction:
The purpose of this research is to examine the status of women wholived in the mountains of western North Carolina and eastern Tennesseeduring the Civil War The plan of the research will be to set forth thecontext in which the experience of women of that region was shaped byevents in the US in the mid th century and then to discuss withreference to documents generated from the period ways in which women wereobliged to adapt to a situation in which men in

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"Letter, Decenber 3 , 1863." North Carolina Civil War Documentary. The memoir, which may be based onfact, supplies a lively account of a peripatetic existence of anunregenerate Confederate who wished she'd been born a man but who alsomanaged to be married and widowed three times, in the process travelingmuch of the world--as far west as Nevada, to London, and as far south asVenezuela--and assembling, in a catch-as-catch-can manner, all manner ofcredentials and acquaintance who fed her appetite for adventure. GeneralGeorge Pickett, late of the famously abortive Pickett's Charge atGettysburg, authorized the mass execution of these men, who had joined theUnion and not Confederate army. LikeVelazquez, she was anomalous, but only because she was a residentTennessean when Tennessee seceded. By no means may one therefore imputeabolitionist sentiment to the whites who lived there, of course. Vann Woodward. Buck Yearns. Alligood, "Letter, Decenber 3 , 1863," North Carolina CivilWar Documentary, ed. vary often fell in the handsof the rebel and thay was som of them shot and others too to prisons somhad to goo in the rebel army aganse thae wills."[4 ] The majority of correspondence that passed between men at war and thewomen on the home front did not have the suspense or high-profile adventureof Mrs. Sarah Thompson. Barett and W. New York: Norton, 1997.Velazquez, Loreta Janeta. What is consistent about thisurban part of Tennessee and the hill country is the evidence of Unionsympathy among ordinary people The job of Mrs. Thompson's army-careerhusband, who did not follow the rebels, was to recruit soldiers for theunion, which led to his ambush death in 1864. In 1862, Lincoln appointed him the military governor of Tennessee.Johnson was not particularly an abolitionist partisan, having been asupporter of the Fugitive Slave Law while in Congress; however, he was astrong Unionist, and his familial and career roots were set among the poorwhites of Appalachia.[11] The relevant point is that from a culturalstandpoint the region was anomalous vis-à-vis the industrial North and theplanter culture of the South. Morgan when hebivouacked in Greenville that year.[38] Not at all a gifted woman ofletters, Sarah can be nevertheless described as a tireless and tirelesslyself-promotional racouteuse who understood intuitively if not analyticallythe elements of strong narrative and authorial empathy. Husband and wife were both sent home (he onleave) to western North Carolina, where Keith deserted and, with Malinda,became the equivalent of Smoky Mountains partisans, operating in both NorthCarolina and Tennessee.[35] Being from North Carolina, Blalock is ofparticular relevance to this research; however, in both the North andSouth, women found their way to the front lines, remaining undetectedunless wounded. Ed. The conscripts is all at home yet, and I don't know what they will do with them.[16] North Carolina has been described as the most reluctant of thesouthern states to secede from the Union, and the sharp division ofsympathies for North and South in the hill country is consistent with thatobservation. Barett and Years comment that their command of narrative style wasquite limited and that the content of the letters tended to be astraightforward account of daily events that revealed the harshness ofconditions. Barett and W. C. Durham: Special Collections Library, Duke University, 1996. Governmentmandates, industry bureaucracies, and the accoutrements of affluence wouldhave been just so much nuisance value to women whose lives were very muchin the hands of what they saw as war profiteers. Freedom is a great thing, but woman cantbe allowed to enjoy it; they are slaves to men."[8] On the whole, as a practical matter, holding slaves would not havebeen an efficient decision for them, simply because of the lie of the land,which did not lend itself to slave-labor management. New York: Burdick Brothers, 1857.Honey, Michael K. It is not too hot for white women. Meanwhile, she made her way toRichmond, saw action at the battles of Bull Run and Ball's Bluff, andeventually offered her services, as a woman in woman's clothing, as a spyfor the Confederacy. The Civil War in North Carolina. John G. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2 ."Letter to the Editor, Greensboro Patriot, 27 March 1862, taken from the Charlotte Bulletin." North Carolina Civil War Documentary. A number of women also became effective spies.[36] Some even became double agents. BibliographyAlligood, Caroline S. Another condemned deserterasked her to return his clothing to his mother. In the introduction to anannotated diary from what the editor calls a yeoman farmer of western NorthCarolina, for example, the reference is to "the hermetic world ofAppalachian North Carolina" and to "the [] hermeticism of the mountainhollows and Thomasson's [the farmer's] hardscrabble day-to-dayexistence."[1] The area is fertile and not inaccessible, being served byrivers and roads, which as a practical matter meant that 19th-centurysettlers were able to devise modest agricultural industry and support amodest local market economy. The number of women-led households trying to survive on a Confederate soldier's pay increased, causing many among the middle classes and yeomanry to face hunger. He was notlong gone before she disguised herself as a man and enlisted in theConfederate cause and then was widowed. Ed. John G. Available at http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/thompson/1864- 9- 3/1864- 9- 3.html.Trefousse, Hans. "The stress of [the] women andchildren was truly great," wrote the Rev. John Paris, regimentalchaplain.[27] The sense of entitlement to retribution on the part ofConfederate loyalists was also great. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 198 . "Letter to Governor Vance, April 9, 1863." North Carolina Civil War Documentary. . Despite evidence of disaffection with the war effort, however, thefact was that North Carolina, reluctant as she might have been to secede,had indeed seceded along with the other states of the Confederacy. Ed. . Harper,Women During the Civil War: An Encyclopedia (New York:Routledge, 2 3), 45.[2 ]Ibid.[21]Ibid., 46.[22]Graham.[23]Nancy Magnum, "Letter to Governor Vance, April 9, 1863," North CarolinaCivil War Documentary, ed. Thompson Papers (Durham: SpecialCollections Library, Duke University, 1996. By 1862, a source of particular controversy was thepractice of distilling spirits, which required the conversion of grains orother foodstuffs to feed the still. Their efficacy was variable; no one could prevent Pickett'smass executions, for example, or the harshness of conscript devotees. John G. North Carolina Civil War Documentary. Buck Yearns (Chapel Hill: Universityof North Carolina Press, 198 ), 268.[43]M.A. . The people themselves were very evenly divided, just as they had been in matters political. North Carolina Civil War Documentary. . Mrs. Caroline S. The women had soughtrelief via petitions to government but had received no joy. . I have plenty to eat as yet. This is what is the matter with nearly all the women who go about complaining of the wrongs of our sex. Rebels in Blue: The Story of Keith and Malinda Blalock. Among those who did join the Confederate army from the piedmontregion, there was a rather significant level of desertion, in significantpart because of the news that soldiers received about the hardships thattheir families were obliged to endure on the home front.[15] The wardisrupted the ties of friendship and family in unprecedented ways, and--itwas ever thus--when the men were absent women were obliged to undertake thejob not only of homemaker but of homeplace manager as well, running thefarms and businesses that their husbands, brothers, and fathers had runbefore the war began. 266-67.Bardolph, Richard. The ladies of that city have always been particularly noted for their generosity, Christianity, culture and refinement; on no occasion, before the war or since, has this reputation been found to be only a noiseless fame.[32] Copley, the author of the memoir from which the foregoing excerpt istaken, describes receiving a lady's help in enabling his good friend tospirit him away from the Nashville hospital to home. . I haven't saw any of your pap's folks since you left home. He adopted a ruse to capture and kill them. 1 September 2 4. Barett and W. "Letter to Z. That happened because themilitary medical and combat staff evacuated Nashville when Northern troopsmoved into the city. Some of the women fared better as farmers than others. . Vance, 1 Aug. Available http://womenshistory.about.com/library/prm/blrowancounty.htm.Hall, Richard. Hundreds of the men entered the Confederate service, and when the conscript law went into force hundreds more of them crossed over the border and joined the Union army. Buck Yearns. Gallagher, The Confederate War (Cambridge: Harvard UniversityPress, 1997), 63.[14]Ibid., 157.[15]Richard Bardolph, "Inconstant Rebels: Desertion of North CarolinaTroops in the Civil War," North Carolina Historical Review 41 (April 1964):165ff.[16]Martha Revis, "Letter to H.W. Buck Yearns. Declaration by the People of the Cherokee Nation of the Causes Which Have Impelled Them to Unite Their Fortunes With Those of the Confederate States of America. John G. to commit the basest of outrages on women . She was soentrepreneurial, however, that she was actually arrested as a Union spy inNew Orleans and briefly imprisoned when her identity as a woman wasdiscovered. Escott (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1996), 173.[9]Hinton Rowan Helper, The Impending Crisis of the South: How To Meet It(New York: Burdick Brothers, 1857), 299-3 .[1 ]Rankin, 55.[11]Hans Trefousse, Andrew Johnson: A Biography (New York: Norton, 1997),18.[12]John G. Salisbury, North Carolina, is onthe eastern edge of western North Carolina's piedmont, about halfwaybetween Charlotte to the south and Winston-Salem to the north on the modernmap. The contrast, however, is decisive, and is relevant to twofeatures of Smoky Mountains history. What neither of themquite captures but what actually makes at least as much sense and is morein keeping with the sentiments expressed in letters and diaries kept by thewomen on the home front is rather simple: These were mothers. Thepeople of Southern Appalachia did not share strong slavery sentiment, andwhen the war came the women of the region conducted themselves in a waythat did grand ideals--whether of Union, abolition, slavery, or Confederacy--small credit. . . That grand old city of Nashville could always boast of its noble southern women. 1 September 2 4. Burgner, 1983.Collins, Donald E. Vance, 1 Aug. The anomaly of the piedmont found expression in a number of ways. Barett and W. . When the fumes of its conflict had cleared away, it was found that its killed were nine hundred or a thousand gallons, and the wounded were some half dozen speculators. "Letter, July 8, 1864." North Carolina Civil War Documentary. While the majority did indeedstay at home and wait for their men to return, others made a lessconventional response. Buck Yearns (Chapel Hill:University of North Carolina Press, 198 ), 97.[17]"Letter to the Editor, Greensboro Patriot, 27 March 1862, taken fromthe Charlotte Bulletin," North Carolina Civil War Documentary, ed. Buck Yearns (Chapel Hill:University of North Carolina Press, 198 ), 267.[42]Mary Bell, "Letter, July 8, 1864," North Carolina Civil WarDocumentary, ed. Buck Yearns(Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 198 ), 214.[35]Peter F. Morgan's Defeat. Despite her glancing acquaintance with the Smoky Mountains region andwhat she describes as her intimate acquaintance with the vicissitudes andpersonalities of the Civil War, Velazquez/Buford must be taken as ananomaly, a willing participant in a conflict that she persisted inbelieving would go better for the South than it eventually did. Buck Yearns. One is the feature of Cherokeeculture, which did not become marginalized until after 183 . John G. Women During the Civil War: An Encyclopedia. "Letter to H.W. It bordered on Kentucky and, when the Confederates were not occupying it, the Federals were in possession. McKinney, The Heart of ConfederateAppalachia: Western North Carolina in the Civil War (Chapel Hill:University of North Carolina Press, 2 ), passim.[6]G. "Letter, October 19, 1862." North Carolina Civil War Documentary. Buck Yearns (Chapel Hill:University of North Carolina Press, 198 ), 221.[24]Michael K. C.J. C. Barett and W. Her 1876 memoir provides a rationale: A woman labors under some disadvantages in an attempt to fight her own way in the world, and at the same time, from the mere fact that she is a woman, she can often do things that a man cannot. Copley, Sketch of the Battle of Franklin, Tenn., WithReminiscences of Camp Douglas (Austin, Texas: Eugene Von Boeckmann,Printer, 1893), 16-17.[33]Ibid., 2 4.[34]"A. New York: Routledge, 2 3.Helper, Hinton Rowan. 214.Pegg, Thomas, and Ross, Joshua. Mrs. Catherine Summerlin got only 15minutes to say good-bye to her husband Jesse. 1 September 2 4), available athttp://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/thompson/1864- 9- 3/1864- 9- 3.html.[4 ]Ibid.[41]Caroline S. As she explains: [A]s both poor and yeoman farm women struggled to keep their children and elderly relatives from starvation, their continued participation in food rebellions suggests that few states and local governments were effective in meeting citizens' needs. . The people is generally well hereat. The role of women in western North Carolina and eastern Tennesseeduring the Civil War was by no means unitary. Harper'sinterpretation is that these incidents illustrated a class-based cleavagebetween the working and affluent classes. The Confederate War. To further exacerbate the food crisis, the Confederate military impressed wagons and other vehicles normally used to transport food.[2 ] The aggravating influence of commodities speculation and profiteeringmay easily be inferred, since Salisbury modeled similar incidents in othersouthern cities, including Richmond, two weeks after the Salisburyincident. John G. New York: Paragon House, 1996.Thompson, Sarah E. She at once left him and disappeared in the woods. Collins, "War Crime or Justice? The purpose of this research is to examine the status of women wholived in the mountains of western North Carolina and eastern Tennesseeduring the Civil War. Andrew Johnson: A Biography. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 198 , 97.Riley, Sam G. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997.Graham, Christopher A. Barett and W. Nashville, Tenn.: Smith and Lamar, 1912.Reid, Whitelaw. give me a close home for the reste of the ware and see that my develes moute was stoped . Buford, with one regiment or another. With much of Tennessee in Union hands and disaffection widespread in North Carolina's mountain counties, Confederate authorities had every reason to be concerned. The ladies--who had brought with them axes andhatchets--confronted the men guarding the whiskey barrels. It is definitely within the ambit of the SmokyMountains, although it can be described as an urban area vis-à-vis therural hill country elsewhere cited herein. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 198 . The people is all turning to Union here since the Yankees has got Vicksburg. Barett and W. Accordingly, a group of women--armedwith hatchets--made short work of one shop door and forced othershopkeepers to part with barrels of flour and molasses, as well as sacks ofsalt. General George Pickett and the Mass Execution of Civil War Deserters in Kinston, North Carolina." The Art of Command in the Civil War. The ladies reportedly responded "Well, whenyou put gold in your pocket, what shall we put in our children's mouths?"The account of the confrontation continues: The parley was a short one. Having granted her wish and warned her against dressing like a manwhile he was away at war, he departed for Richmond. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1998. "The Cherokee Phoenix: The Short, Unhappy Life of the First American Indian Newspaper." Journalism Quarterly 53 (Winter 1976): 666-671.Stevens, Peter F. After her release, however, she became Lt. Kirk, a native of Greene County, Tennessee, was considered a "bushwacker" by Confederates, but among the Unionists he was known as an officer who could conduct guerrilla warfare necessary in the mountains.[12] It has been argued that too much is made of the divisions between theelite and lower classes of whites, while too little is made of the near-mythic binding power of the Confederate social idea. Dallas: Taylor Publishing, 2 . Patriots in Disguise: Women Warriors of the Civil War. Suchovert partisanship as there was appears to have leaned in the direction ofUnion; however, this was a border region, and among those who did haveslaves the proslavery sentiment was quite pronounced. That is specificallyarticulated by Mrs. Nancy Magnum in a letter to Governor Vance describingthe incident: I have 6 little children and my husband in the armey and what am I to do Slone wont let we Poor wemen have thread when he has it we know he has evry thing plenty he say he has not got it to spair when we go but just let thes big men go they can git it withou aney trouble. In thatregard, Inscoe and McKinney make the point that, among western NorthCarolinians who did hold slaves, sentiment in favor of slavery wasdecidedly positive.[5] Furthermore, the sentiment was more pronounced, justas among those who did not favor slavery antislavery sentiment and Unionsympathies were also more pronounced. Buck Yearns. But in neither case was their role passive, for thesentiment of that particular region seems to have vexed the grand idealismof the Confederate cause. Itwas in the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee that the termbushwhacker came into existence, an outgrowth of the fiercely independentturn of mind and behavior that distinguished the rural hill people and thepersonal interpenetration of experience in this relatively remote part ofthe American South. This purpose I felt sure I could accomplish as a woman; and although I had a tolerably good appreciation of the perils I should run, I had confidence in my abilities to see myself through, and the perils attending my enterprise were incentives, rather than otherwise, for me to attempt it.[37] Velazquez reached Washington, D.C., and struck up acquaintanceshipswith her late husband's former army colleagues that led her tointroductions to the Secretary of War and indeed to Mr. Lincoln. John G. But the prospect of arrest would have been unlikely todeter them because they had exhausted their options. Buck Yearns. Buford, Confederate States Army, ed.C.J. . B. . Greeneville, Tenn.: G.F. Their illiteracyhandicapped them, but otherwise they repeatedly proved themselves more thancapable of doing more than standing and waiting as a mechanism of supplyingservice. . Rankin, The Story of My Life or More Than a Half Century as I HaveLived It and Seen It Lived (Nashville, Tenn.: Smith and Lamar, 1912), 17-18.[7]Ward, 173.[8]Ward, citing The Diary of Basil Armstrong Thomasson, 1853-1862, ed. Barett and W. Consider for example the harsh bitterness thatMistress Alice Williamson, a schoolgirl during the war, articulates in herdiary at the Union triumph over and occupation of Gallatin, Tennessee,which is located in the north central part of the state, not far from thesouthern border of the state of Kentucky. Outside the piedmont there appears to have been a good deal ofpro-Confederate sentiment. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1963.Bell, Mary. Each of these explanations for the women's straightforward flouting ofauthorities makes sense in context as far as it goes. . Thompson, Sarah E. The women, who were described as the wives of soldiers, alsoappropriated Confederate flour supplies at the railroad yard, laterdividing the "spoils" among themselves.[18] In the background of the incident in Newton and was called the flourrebellion in the public press were the harsh realities of war that arevisited on civilians. Underpinning theSouth's resolve, on this view, were "strong feelings of nationalidentity."[13] Some 8 % of all able-bodied and age-appropriate (white) menvolunteered for military service in the Confederacy. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 198 . Evenso, this prefigured by six years the infamous Trail of Tears, whichforcibly relocated almost (but not all) Cherokee to Oklahoma, at USgovernment behest.[4] It is not necessary to point out the ambiguities andparadoxes implicit in Union sentiment among white settlers, Cherokeeantipathy to the US government, and the lumping together of Southernsensibilities against black persons, whether slave or free, in the regionto see that the larger point is that the region's cultural identity, if itcan be so called, was not unitary in the run-up to the Civil War. She married a Texican who had a US Armycommission but obtained a Confederate commission at her behest in 186 .During the previous five years she had borne and lost three children, andshe longed for a life of adventure. Asupposedly "concerned" Fayetteville manufacturer" believed that women couldbe gainfully employed if only they could get thread and a wool card.[34]however, as Nancy Magnum's letter indicates, not all patrons were accordedequal treatment by merchants, with poor women especially vulnerable tobeing excluded from markets. 1 September 2 4. John G. . N., October 28, 1861. Graham, "Women's Revolt in Rowan County." ColumbiadQuarterly Magazine (Spring 1999), 1 September 2 4; availablehttp://womenshistory.about.com/library/prm/blrowancounty.htm.[19]Judith E. . That is all I can think of, only I want you to come home the worst that I ever did. He approached a cabin in the locality of their hiding and completely threw the woman off her guard. Buck Yearns (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press,198 ), 177-78.[18]Christopher A. Her description ofher encounter with Morgan records full engagement with the larger issuesand social implications of the war: somthing [sic] near 3 I was vary bys preparing somthing for Sundy and maken tomato butar when a rush was heard in the streete and then a nock at the dore and then when I opend it I was surprised to see Jhon Morgan the rebell Rader the king of tare . 267-8.Brock, Darla. Revis, July 2 , 1863," North CarolinaCivil War Documentary, ed. The missing were three or four hundred bushels of corn. Buford, Confederate States Army. Time and again, in different counties in North Carolina, have we seen the poor white wife of the poor white husband, following him in the harvest-field from morning till night, binding up the grain as it fell from his cradle. N.,October 28, 1861), 1 September 2 4; availablehttp://civilwarhome.com/cherokeecauses.htm.[4]Sam G. Adding to the unsettled conditions in western North Carolina was the threat by 1864 of Union cavalry raids from east Tennessee on the vital rail lines east of the mountains. Barett and W. In part the Declaration took its text from what theCherokee conceived to be the US government's treatment of Cherokee women: Foreign mercenaries and the scum of cities and the inmates of prisons were enlisted . John G. Durham: The Digital Scriptorium, Special Collections Library, Duke University, 1996. "Women's Revolt in Rowan County." Columbiad Quarterly Magazine (Spring 1999). A second feature of discourse in this regard is that the non-Indianfarmers, chiefly though not exclusively Scots-Irish in ethnicity, whosettled in the area were not particularly slaveholders and not particularlyenamored of the peculiar institution. To put it another way,the women of the hills were no more or less sensitive than they should havebeen. Edited by John G. The relevance of thatsentiment to the experience of women in eastern Tennessee and western NorthCarolina is that what happened in Newton in 1862 seems to have had legs. Austin, Texas: Eugene Von Boeckmann, Printer, 1893.Gallagher, G.W. The Woman in Battle: A Narrative of the Exploits, Adventures, and Travels of Madame Loreta Janeta Velazquez, Otherwise Known as Lieutenant Harry T. There was also evidence of a somewhat different attitude toward slavesand indeed toward social class more generally in western North Carolinafrom other parts of the South. Barrett and W. New York: Harper Torcnbooks, 1965.Revis, Martha. In that context, indeed, women and men alike may be supposed to havegone about their business in a more or less traditional fashion. Mr. Whitelaw Reid, a Republican travel journalist from Ohiowho, according to his editor Woodward was not as racially progressive aYankee as he featured himself and who toured the South after the Civil War,observes in his journal that people in the Knoxville, Tenn., region, "hadnot been accustomed to depend for support upon their slaves; they sufferedthe less, therefore, from the sudden disappearance of slaves."[2] Such a topography and such a cultural mind-set are to be contrastedwith the vast bottomlands and culture of the parts of the Deep South thatwere historically associated with highly socialized plantation industry andculture. McKethan to Z. She explains that she has laid in fourcorn plantings. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 198 . She lived with her husband Sylvanus inGreeneville, Tennessee, which is toward the eastern edge of the state notfar from North Carolina. Blows followed words. Thecomplaints were articulated in 1861 in a Declaration designed to explainwhy the US government was not worthy of Cherokee loyalty in the currentunpleasantness. Their wives and other family members of thedeserters were witness to their execution. In 1864, five women got five-month jail terms for their part inraiding the flour. The Civil War in thisparticular region, and because of the bushwhacker phenomenon, has beencharacterized as guerrilla warfare, with family and political loyaltiesoverlapping, converging, and conflicting in violent encounters according asCivil War ideology touched individual experience. Ward, "North Carolina Yeoman. Shedisguised herself as a man and enlisted as Samuel Blalock, posing asKeith's brother and seeing action in three battles until she was woundedand, inevitably, exposed. Sarah E. . In North Carolina, MalindaBlalock's husband, known as a Lincolnite in the local area, was planning tojoin the Union Army when he was conscripted by the Confederacy. Too hot in the South for white men! . But that does not automatically implypolitical, social, or psychological sophistication. The relative isolation of this part of theSouthern terrain from the rest of the Deep South, described in NorthCarolina as its western piedmont region, is referred to by various sourcesindependently. Anewspaper called the Cherokee Phoenix was being published by 183 --only tobe suppressed by the Georgia legislature (not the US government, but by186 the distinction would have been lost on all concerned) in 1834. It was here that the first of the so-called bread riots of the CivilWar took place. insulting the father he carried his son a half mile away and shot him six times.[29] Alice's diary gives an account of more or less routine Yankeeoccupation atrocities: "It has been a beautiful day but that kind only makeus sad: it was not so once. Moretypical of women's experience in the region were the traditional roles ofwaiter, helpmeet, and, faut de mieux, spoils. The working-class ethic, results oriented as it was,was valorized irrespective of the values of the cause of the Confederacy,and the women of that culture do not seem to have had much difficulty aboutthe morality of their actions and their proactive role at the home front. Richmond, Va.: Dustin, Gilman & Co., 1876.Williamson, Alice. Most important, Martha's letter captures a rangeof issues that resonated uniquely in the piedmont, including identifiablepro-Unionist sentiment, resistance among young men to Confederateconscription, a general lack of enthusiasm for the objectives of the war,and a sense that the strongest attachment that the common people of theregion had was to family and the land: You said you hadn't anything to eat. C. . 177-78.Magnum, Nancy. Forexample. Barett and W. "'Our Hands Are at Your Service': The Story of Confederate Women in Memphis." West Tennessee Historical Society Papers 45 (1991): 19-34.Burgner, Goldene Fillers. In due course, ladies of the community betook themselves ina group to the railroad depot, where barrels of whiskey awaited shipment.The women may have been temperance-minded, but as a matter of fact thediscourse of the moment did not reach the salutary or poisonous effects ofalcohol on cognitive or motor skills. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 198 .Barrett, John G. The Story of My Life or More Than a Half Century as I Have Lived It and Seen It Lived. Even more common was the refusal of so many men in thearea to join the South or the North. 266.-----------------------[1]David C. . However, when herejoined his unit the fortunes of war put him in an Illinois prison campfrom which he was released when the war was over and he had signed aloyalty oath.[33] Implicit in that narrative is the presumption of help andsupport as the welcome and expected lot of women in war. Hall, Richard. Buck, eds. In the entry for March 12, 1864,dear Alice expresses what many seem to feel for "Old Payne," the Uniongeneral governing the area: Old Payne dined at Mrs. Hales today: every one despises him but are afraid to show it. A number of sources make referenceto the social effects of the region's geography. C. Ed. as I was a D_ _ Union woming.[39] Sarah goes on to describe the rebels' pillage of her home and thetriumphalist rebel threats to hang her after Morgan's death. Furthermore, the role of poor white women in conducting the workof the family farm was well documented even before the onset of war. Salisbury merchants were suspected of speculating, an idea thatachieves credence in light of the that, when local women offered to pay themerchants the Confederate Army price for bread and salt, the merchantsrefused to let go of the inventory. . The first of these bread riots, which was more like a flour riot, cameabout owing to the way the fortunes of war had fallen by 1863--literallyfallen, to the benefit of merchants, including commodities vendors, in theregion. Published reports after 1862, when suchfoods as sorghum, peanuts, syrup, and dried fruit were specificallyproscribed for distillery use, show that women were fully engaged in thepolitics and pragmatics of protecting the food supply, despite the enormousbenefits of profiteering that were bound to come from sales of whiskey. The Heart of Confederate Appalachia: Western North Carolina in the Civil War. John G. John G. Atany rate, women's determination acquired a certain momentum irrespective ofthe dynamics of the Civil War battlefield. Yesterday he went up the country a few miles to a Mr. Dalton's whose son came home from the Southern Army the day before and had the same day taken the Amnesty Oath. Families were often estranged and neighborhoods were rent asunder. Those who, after the onset of hostilities, were obliged tostand and wait, whatever the political and/or military leanings of theirmen, do not appear to have waited merely, however. . Steven E. Barett and W. She alsoappears to have bequeathed her slaves to her sometimes less than honorablechildren.[6] The diary of the farmer Basil Armstrong Thomasson, who died in1862, reveals him to either have been or to have had an interest in seeming"remarkably progressive, taking the Northern feminist line that linkedslavery with the state of women."[7] Ward quotes from the diary ofThomasson, who seems to have succeeded in the courtship of his wife in partby giving her a subscription to a newspaper: "There are more slaves in theU.S. They were perfectlycapable of taking their situations into their own hands, or at any ratetrying to do so. However, in that area, the majorityof those who worked the land were better described as yeoman farmers thanas planters and simply did not have a slave staff. The geography of the region--eastern Tennessee and western NorthCarolina take in the part of the Appalachian region known as the GreatSmoky Mountains--had the effect of isolating the settlers in the area fromthe context of the slave-holding South. Thompson Papers. But, being a woman, I was bent on making the best of it; and having for some time now figured successfully in the garments of the other sex, I resolved upon resuming those of my own for a season, for the accomplishment of a purpose I had in my mind. 22 -21.McKethan, A. The priorities of these women were the ones oftheir men--home, family, and as much prosperity as they could muster. . Steven E. Woodworth(Lincoln:University of Nebraska Press, 1998), 6 .[28]Ibid.[29]Alice Williamson, Alice Williamson Diary: An On-line ArchivalCollection (Durham: The Digital Scriptorium, Special Collections Library,Duke University, 1996), 4-5. Buford again andenlisted, receiving a commission in an East Tennessee regiment, but she wasagain discovered when she was wounded. Buck Yearns, eds., North Carolina Civil WarDocumentary (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 198 ), 95.[13]G.W. Zimmerman, "Letter, October 19, 1862," North Carolina Civil WarDocumentary, ed. However, the wounded were taken care of without abreak: We were not left long without attention, for the ladies of Nashville came into the hospital at once, took full charge of the sick, and soon made us feel very comfortable and as though our own mothers had suddenly appeared in our midst; they soon materially improved our condition in many respects, and made strenuous efforts to have us removed to their private residences, but the Federal authorities would not allow it, and we had to remain in the hospital. The women weren't having it. John G.Barett and W. Undoubtedly to suggest that NorthCarolinians of the piedmont region were entirely progressive would be to gotoo far, but there was a subtle range of opinion in the area that seems tohave owed something to the defining power of the land in the area. They celebrated their fifth weddinganniversary at the Commercial Hotel in Memphis, Tenn., and she proceeded topersuade him to help her pass as his (male) comrade in arms for a couple ofdays. ANorth Carolina abolitionist gives an account of family farm managementamong nonslaveholding populations of the state. Stevens, Rebels in Blue: The Story of Keith and MalindaBlalock (Dallas: Taylor Publishing, 2 ), 45ff et passim.[36]Richard Hall, Patriots in Disguise: Women Warriors of the Civil War(New York: Paragon House, 1996), passim.[37]Loreta Janeta Velazquez, The Woman in Battle: A Narrative of theExploits, Adventures, and Travels of Madame Loreta Janeta Velazquez,Otherwise Known as Lieutenant Harry T. Some women who operated in the Smoky Mountains region during the CivilWar were extraordinary by any standard. All of that is by way of introduction to what the memoir describes asa "tragic incident in the hill country."[44] That incident illustrates thesavagery of war and the instrumental use to which civilians, whether maleor female, may be put by those who have strategic or tactical militaryobjectives. . A memoirof the antebellum period describes a woman who did have slaves but whonever sold any, to the contrary buying some with a view toward reunitingfamilies and (it is a white man's memoir) treating them well. The background for the incident is the aggressiverecruitment/impressment activity of both Union and Confederate militaryunits in this woefully undercommitted part of the country, where the menwere "wild and reckless class at best, and as the war gradually lifted allrestraints of civil government they were a desperate set of men . Kirk led a daring raid from east Tennessee on Camp Vance near Morganton. The teller of this tale does not record thepsychoemotional aftermath of the loss of so many young men from onecommunity; however, the cost may be inferred in reports of the incidents ofretribution and recrimination that were visited on people throughout thewar, not least because the people in the area, whether sympathetic withNorth or South, all knew each other and all inhabited basically the samegeographical area. Formany, giving an account of their hand-to-mouth existence was the best theycould do: all [sic] I want now is to see you come home I haven got no wheat soad yet I have had alford to hall out the manur and A hard bargin to get him and have to pay A dollar a day it looks like culd get him when every I wanted him at that prise I pute up the hogs last weak but hant got no corn up yet to fead them.[43] From time to time, women on the piedmont home front were enlisted inthe fog of war instrumentally. Alligood writes to her husband that she has "gotA little meet an bred now an have one big hog an A Shoat to kill an thatwill not last me long but it will [be] all I shall get." She also complainsabout high prices and having almost no money, observing that the $25 shegot the previous August "was not half A nuff" and worrying "about thechrildrens haveing Shoos."[41] Mrs. Mary Bell fared somewhat better. I tel you if you dont put Slone and Linsey out of offis the Poor weman will perish for the want of something to eat my brother sent home for some shirtes I went to Slone for bunch coten he would not let me have one thread and he had plenty their is bound to be a fammon if I dont git help soon.[23] Some historians have interpreted the response of women in this part ofthe country as a significant determinant of the large numbers of desertionsby West Carolinian/East Tennessee soldiers during the Civil War. Inscoe, and Gordon B. Jane Elkins is living with me yet. After the War: A Tour of the Southern States, 1865-1866. The Impending Crisis of the South: How To Meet It. A letter written from Marshall, North Carolina (not far fromAsheville), is in part an agricultural report by Mrs. Martha Revis to herhusband H.V., who is at the front. She was anentrepreneurial sort of spy and soldier, reporting her findings about thestate of the Union to Confederate generals, especially Lucius Polk, on asomewhat freelance basis, and remaining on the move, affiliating herself,in the person of Lt. If any of our neighboring counties are afflicted as we were, and need help, let them call for the ladies of Catawba.[17] North Carolina native Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-191 ), the first womanto graduate from medical school in the US and someone who went north earlyin life, is famously credited with the statement that nothing is morepowerful than a woman who has made up her mind. Ed. Jim Slone sid he would feed we poor weman on dog meet and Roten egges. She, brave lass,proceeded to disguise herself and embark on a career as a Confederateofficer, which she did with some small success, not least because sheappears to have been adept as flirting with Southern belles. Sketch of the Battle of Franklin, Tenn., With Reminiscences of Camp Douglas. The highly variable(i.e., not bottomland) topography of the Smoky Mountains helps explain why,of all the parts of the antebellum South, this one appears to have had theleast exposure to either the slave trade or the use of slaves as a culturalcomponent. PaulD. In early 1862, the ladies of Catawba andNewton, North Carolina, circulated a broadside appeal to protect foodstuffsfor their highest and best use: "A bountiful Providence has given us enoughfor man and beast; but distillers have already converted so much corn intopoison, that prices look like famine ahead." That appeal, cited in a letterto the editor of the Greensboro Patriot March 12, 1862, appears to havegone unheeded. Vance. Worthington. . Barrels roll--hoops fly--head split--staves burst asunder--ladies stand ankle deep in the flowing "elixor," and ply their weapons, if somewhat awkwardly, yet with terrible slaughter,--they are in the spirit. Thestatus of the Cherokee people, almost alone among the indigenous NativeAmerican peoples, was at best ambiguous and at worst in flux. The women-led food rebellions of the Civil War underscore the alienation of poor white women from the affluent middle and upper classes and from the mainstream of Southern society and culture.[21] Graham's interpretation of these incidents characterizes the women asplain folk, possessed of a "work ethic and political values that wereconsciously in opposition to the perceived life of leisure practiced by theeastern planter class."[22] Graham, like other commentators on the peopleof this part of the South, also stresses the relative dearth of slaves inthe subculture and the reliance on independence and family effort tosupport family life. North Carolina's government apparatus was aware of the plight of womenat home and the problems created by the fact that their men were at war. Riding up to the door he enquired of Mr. Dalton if his son was at home but . The plan of the research will be to set forth thecontext in which the experience of women of that region was shaped byevents in the US in the mid-19th century and then to discuss, withreference to documents generated from the period, ways in which women wereobliged to adapt to a situation in which men in their prime wereessentially absent, owing to their commitment to resolving the war betweenthe states, with a view toward showing that the experience and behavior ofthe women in this part of the country were more concerned with local andfamily issues than with the grand designs of either Union or Confederatepriorities. TheAppalachian Scots-Irish, indeed, were noteworthy chiefly for their socialindependence, which can be linked to the fact that eastern Tennessee andwestern North Carolina shared their topography with southern Kentucky. Harper cites "the depth of misery of the poor whitemen and women of the Confederacy,"[19] a condition amplified by thepractice of enforced conscription that was undertaken by the Confederategovernment. In 1819, whenwhite settlement first started in the area, the land in eastern Tennessee,western Carolina, and north Georgia belonged to the Cherokee nation. Buford, was born in Cuba and reared in thenation, afterward state, of Texas. A. Worthington (Richmond, Va.: Dustin, Gilman & Co., 1876), 13 .[38]Goldene Fillers Burgner, Morgan's Defeat (Greeneville, Tenn.: G.F.Burgner, 1983), passim.[39]Sarah E. The yake [sic] officers who stay at Paynescarried their wives out to see the soldier shot. Revis, July 2 , 1863." North Carolina Civil War Documentary. Gallagher discountsthe view that the material hardship that the war worked on the populace ofthe South caused Southerners to lose morale in the Confederate war effort.Rather, he takes the view that hardship hardened the "resolve" of the greatmass of people in the South: "By the end of 1863, prolonged resistanceagainst an enemy with seemingly unlimited manpower and industrial capacityhad created among many Confederates a sense of accomplishment against longodds and a determination to carry on the fight."[14] Assuming Gallagher's thesis is accurate, there is neverthelesscompelling evidence that in the piedmont region of western North Carolina,which converged with the hill country of eastern Tennessee, a measurablenumber of those who did elect to fight in the struggle chose the Union andnot the Confederacy. It is worthnoting, by the way, that when Civil War did come, the Cherokee in the SmokyMountains region sided with the South, not the North, since the North, asthe Union, was the dreaded agent of the native American diaspora. A. Ed. Women's efforts to protect fair access to food is a case in point, andit took various forms. Bushwhacker was the name given to men of the regionalhills who sought to avoid impressment into Confederate military service,and it later acquired a meaning associated with anti-Confederate militaryactivity more generally; some of these men engaged Confederate militia, andothers enlisted for service in the Union army. Barett and W. who labor in the fields every summer.[9] The onset of war did not call forth a tremendous rush of Unionpatriotism, though still less an inclination to serve for the South. Harper continues: Jobs and food were rarities for all social classes in the overcrowded cities that were teeming with refugees, but the poor-both whites and free blacks with little or no resources to buffer them-suffered most. She alsoexpresses empathy for the plight of slaves who dared to help Unionsoldiers, saying that the "colerd pepell . Many of the women were barely literate and "badlyeducated," but they were proud and, as it turned out, as capable as couldbe expected in the project of managing the heavy and light work of theirhomes. He told his tale and begged that some one who knew the country should pilot him across the line into the Yankee camp. Instead, the provenance of alcohol--food--was the issue. One Captain Hurley, a Confederate native of the region,attempted to conscript a raft of local boys, using a five-year-old humanshield in the process, wary as he was of being opposed by unwillingrecruits. Their fears became a reality in June when Colonel George W. Onthe other hand, their legacy is one of pragmatic subversion, and, as theflour riots and confrontations with authority vividly demonstrate, directaction in the service of achievable objectives. These agents ofthe distilled goods claimed that they had "private rights" to the gold theygot for selling the whiskey. New York: Paragon House, 1996.Harper, Judith E. . Vann Woodward (New York: Harper Torcnbooks, 1965), 351.[3]Thomas Pegg, and Joshua Ross, et al., Declaration by the People of theCherokee Nation of the Causes Which Have Impelled Them to Unite TheirFortunes With Those of the Confederate States of America (Tahlequah, C. when we go for aney thing they will not hardley notis us . During the most of that bloody war, East Tennessee was disputed territory. Alice Williamson Diary: An On-line Archival Collection. A single sniper's bullet made short work of Hurley and the boy.Hurley's officer son later employed a stratagem of revenge, employing alocal woman to accomplish it: Young Hurley found out where he thought a crowd of them were being harbored by friends. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 198 . Riley, "The Cherokee Phoenix: The Short, Unhappy Life of theFirst American Indian Newspaper," Journalism Quarterly 53 (Winter 1976):668ff.[5]John C. even women were imprisoned by the arbitrary order of a President and Cabinet ministers; while the press ceased to be free, the publication of newspapers was suspended and their issues seized and destroyed.[3] In the background of that 1861 declaration was the fact that theCherokee, uniquely among the Native American peoples of the early 19thcentury, had set about codifying and reducing to writing their language. "Bywriting discouraging letters to the North Carolina troops urging them tocome home, many married women had a disastrous impact on militarymorale."[24] Honey cites letters written by a woman whose child was dyingand another who appealed to the governor of North Carolina to supply herwith a sensible rationale for the war, as well as evidence that some womenin the piedmont region actually created havens for deserters and for Unionsoldiers caught in the area.[25] A woman who farmed sugar cane dressed herage-appropriate stepson in women's clothing for the duration in order tohide him from the Confederate conscriptors who regularly canvassed thepiedmont for draftees.[26] It was in North Carolina that the ultimate penalty for desertion--public execution--was paid, presumably for the purpose of shoring upConfederate military morale. Honey, "The War Within the Confederacy: White Unionist ofNorth Carolina," Prologue (Journal of the National Archives) 18 (Summer1986): 85.[25]Ibid., passim.[26]John G. Friday came back and saidit was "quite funny to see the boys chase them."[3 ] Elsewhere MistressAlice cites the Fort Pillow affair, a reference to a massacre of Uniontroops in western Tennessee that appears to have encouraged the Union toretrench and insist on absolute victory. than most of us are aware of. Reference has been made to the independent turn of mind typical ofthe Smoky Mountains region. Ed. Woodworth. 1963," Governors' Papers, NorthCarolina Civil War Documentary, ed. We are back to theconcept of the indeterminate cultural identity, or more exactly ofdeterminedly competitive identities, that dominated social experience inthe piedmont region. Tahlequah, C. Buck Yearns (Chapel Hill: Universityof North Carolina Press, 198 ), 266.[44]Rankin, 55.[45]Ibid., 56.[46]Ibid., 58. . Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 198 . . the Diary of Basil ArmstrongThomasson, 1853-1862," Civil War History 45 (1999): 173.[2]Whitelaw Reid, After the War: A Tour of the Southern States, 1865-1866,ed. A role of helpmeet was the lot of Mrs. Sarah Lane Thompson. General George Pickett andthe Mass Execution of Civil War Deserters in Kinston, North Carolina," TheArt of Command in the Civil War, ed. . AConfederate government apparatus was in place, and the governor's name wasZ.B. In the immediate neighborhood from which we hail, there are not less than thirty young women, non-slaveholding whites, between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five . Patriots in Disguise: Women Warriors of the Civl War. One Loreta Janeta Velazquez, otherwiseknown as Lieutenant Harry T. I have no hesitation in saying that I wish I had been created a man instead of a woman. Many women of the region engaged in highly traditional support-staffduties such as nursing and other care for the sick and wounded.[31] ATennessee volunteer soldier who was wounded in a skirmish near Nashvilleand later at the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee, even later being sent to aYankee prison camp in Illinois, supplies a memoir in which he describesbeing cared for by the women of Nashville. "The War Within the Confederacy: White Unionist of North Carolina" Prologue (Journal of the National Archives) 18 (Summer 1986): 75-93.Inscoe, John C., and McKinney, Gordon B. That appears to have affected the response ofpeople in the area to the onset of Civil War, as well as the experience ofthe people vis-à-vis committed partisans during the conflict. A memoir of a man growing up in easternTennessee during the war relates a story of one deadly incident in thatregard. .deeply incensed at the conscript officers and let no opportunity escape togive them serious trouble."[45] The Union, which had a more abundant supplyof bodies, was inclined to encourage antipathy between locals and Southernconscription units. B. 1 September 2 4..[3 ]Ibid., 13.[31]Darla Brock, "'Our Hands Are at Your Service': The Story of ConfederateWomen in Memphis," West Tennessee Historical Society Papers 45 (1991):22ff.[32]John M. "Inconstant Rebels: Desertion of North Carolina Troops in the Civil War." North Carolina Historical Review 41 (April 1964): 163-89.Barett, John G., and Yarns, W. . Buck Yearns. Barett and W. Mrs. Summerlin, meanwhile,had had her horse and household commandeered by a Confederate colonel.[28]The disposition of the bodies was also a haphazard affair, since the wivesof some of the men lived in the North and were not permitted to retrievetheir husbands' bodies. 1963." Governors' Papers. 5 -83.Copley, John M. John G. Ed. One wonders whether, had they been steeped in the classics, theseparticular women might not have been able to devise a Lysistrata stratagemfor shortening the war. I want you to come home as soon as you can after you git this letter. 1 September 2 4. He dressed up one of his comrades in a worn Federal uniform and sent him in there to play the part of an escaped Federal prisoner, which he did successfully. Further, she says, "My wheat is good; my oats is good." Shealso expresses concern that his letters tell of conditions of huger anddeprivation at the front. Available http://civilwarhome.com/cherokeecauses.htm.Rankin, G. Directly she returned with two of the men heavily armed.[46] In due course a dozen or so local boys let down their guard--part ofHurley's plan--and were summarily marched into a room where they weremassacred to a man. A good many in the hill country did not enter either army, but took to the woods; and while their sympathies were with the old flag, they became, for the most part, outlaws.[1 ]It is worth noting, too, that Lincoln's second vice president, AndrewJohnson, was born in North Carolina and built a career in Greeneville,Tenn. Sarah continued to aid Unionrecruiting efforts surreptitiously, even functioning, as she declares, as aspy to finger for Union snipers Confederate General John H. Shewrites to her husband Alfred in July of 1864 that although some crops arebetter than others (e.g., lettuce bad, potatoes good), "upon the whole Irecon we have about as much to eat as most any person else, if we get noscarces we have no need to grumble."[42] Few enough women on the home fronthad an opportunity to get a big-picture view of heir circumstances. Barrett, The Civil War in North Carolina (Chapel Hill:University of North Carolina Press, 1963), 191.[27]Donald E. "War Crime or Justice? fared by all who knew him and a grate many who did not knew him for he was the lien of the South or the rebells know I dont want any harde feelen for I hav none and some of the deares friends I have was rebels he came in and sat neare the dore and smoked his pipe it was not the pipe of pese thoe the pipe of ware and strife he tility his chare back neare the dore and said he was goan to . Ed. Kinston, North Carolina, was the scene of thehanging of 22 so-called deserters, and it was widely known that the hillsof the western part of the state were a major deserters' haven. .Zimmerman, M.A. I wish you was here to get some beans for dinner.

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