Becoming Confederates: Paths to a New National Loyalty

Becoming Confederates: Paths to a New National Loyalty


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In Becoming Confederates, Gary W. Gallagher explores loyalty in the era of the Civil War, focusing on Robert E. Lee, Stephen Dodson Ramseur, and Jubal A. Early—three prominent officers in the Army of Northern Virginia who became ardent Confederate nationalists. Loyalty was tested and proved in many ways leading up to and during the war. Looking at levels of allegiance to their native state, to the slaveholding South, to the United States, and to the Confederacy, Gallagher shows how these men represent responses to the mid-nineteenth-century crisis.

Lee traditionally has been presented as a reluctant convert to the Confederacy whose most powerful identification was with his home state of Virginia—an interpretation at odds with his far more complex range of loyalties. Ramseur, the youngest of the three, eagerly embraced a Confederate identity, highlighting generational differences in the equation of loyalty. Early combined elements of Lee's and Ramseur's reactions—a Unionist who grudgingly accepted Virginia's departure from the United States but later came to personify defiant Confederate nationalism.

The paths of these men toward Confederate loyalty help delineate important contours of American history. Gallagher shows that Americans juggled multiple, often conflicting, loyalties and that white southern identity was preoccupied with racial control transcending politics and class. Indeed, understanding these men's perspectives makes it difficult to argue that the Confederacy should not be deemed a nation. Perhaps most important, their experiences help us understand why Confederates waged a prodigiously bloody war and the manner in which they dealt with defeat.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780820345406
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
Publication date: 05/01/2013
Series: Mercer University Lamar Memorial Lectures Series , #54
Pages: 152
Sales rank: 967,650
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

GARY W. GALLAGHER is the John L. Nau III Professor in the History of the American Civil War emeritus at the University of Virginia. He has written or edited numerous books on the Civil War, including Becoming Confederates: Paths to a New National Loyalty and Lens of War: Exploring Iconic Photographs of the Civil War, coedited with J. Matthew Gallman (both Georgia).

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

Chapter One
Conduct Must Conform to the New Order of Things: R. E. Lee and the Question of Loyalty 8

Chapter Two
He Died as Became a Confederate Soldier: Stephen Dodson Ramseur’s Easy Embrace of the Confederacy 35

Chapter Three
Consistent Conservative: Jubal A. Early’s Patriotic Submission 57

Chapter Four
For His Country and His Duty: Confederate National Sentiment beyond Appomattox 83

Notes 93
Index 109

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Once again, Gary Gallagher, the master essayist on the Civil War, has given us wonderful food for thought on the nature of Confederate nationalism. Through three cross-generational test cases—R. E. Lee, Dodson Ramseur, and Jubal Early—Gallagher penetrates the thicket of state versus national loyalty in the Confederacy and emerges with some fascinating insights about the nationalizing power of slavery and the war and the persistence of Confederate national sentiment in the postwar years."—Joseph T. Glatthaar, author of Soldiering in the Army of Northern Virginia: A Statistical Portrait of the Troops Who Served under Robert E. Lee

"These three powerful portraits, painted with bold strokes and evocative detail, bear the unmistakable marks of Gary Gallagher's mastery of the historical craft. The decisions made by these men help us understand the decisions all white southerners faced in the era of the Civil War."—Edward L. Ayers, author of In the Presence of Mine Enemies: Civil War in the Heart of America, 1859-1863, winner of the Bancroft Prize

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