Ethnicity in the Civil War
Trim size: 5.500in x 8.500in
Pub Date: 05/01/2006
List Price: $29.95
Ethnicity in the Civil War
Most Southerners who fought in the Civil War were native born, white, and Confederate. However, thousands with other ethnic backgrounds also took a stand—and not always for the South. Invisible Southerners recounts the wartime experiences of the region's German Americans, Native Americans, and African Americans. As Anne J. Bailey looks at how such outsiders responded to demands on their loyalties, she recaptures the atmosphere of suspicion and prosecession, proslavery sentiment in which they strove to understand, and be understood by, their neighbors.
Divisions within groups complicated circumstances even after members had cast their lot with the Union or Confederacy. Europe's slavery-free legacy swayed many German Americans against the South. Even so, one pro-Union German soldier could still look askance at another, because he was perhaps from a different province in the Old Country or of a different religious sect. Creeks and Cherokees faced wartime questions made thornier by tribal rifts based on wealth, racial mixture, and bitter memories of their forced transport to the Indian Territory decades earlier. The decision was easiest for former slaves, says Bailey, but the consequences more dire. They joined the Union Army in search of freedom and a new life—often to be persecuted by Yankee soldiers and, if captured, punished severely by Rebels.
A lively introduction to ethnic and racial diversity during the Civil War era. In a work that nicely synthesizes existing scholarship and also presents new information, Bailey explains how German Americans, Native Americans, and African Americans all became part of the Confederate story. For many Civil War buffs, this volume will be an eye-opener.
—George C. Rable, University of Alabama
By exploring a much-neglected but important facet of the war, Bailey has taken Civil War literature beyond battlefield and biography. Her analysis of southern-born Native Americans, German Americans, and African Americans provides a window into the ethnic dimensions of the conflict, while conveying the essence of the complexities of the war and more importantly the patterns of adaptation ethnic groups and native-born Americans used in fighting for the same cause. Drawing on an array of excellent primary and secondary sources, Bailey has provided a thoughtful and lucid account of the motivations for fighting and staying the course of war. Although small in size, this well-conceived book is grand in scope and an enjoyable book that fills a neglected area of Civil War history.
—Stephen D. Engle, author of Struggle for the Heartland
With deft strokes, Bailey redraws the profile of the "southerner" during the Civil War era. . . . Bailey's little book does much to suggest why it is important now to bring the outsiders into Civil War and southern history.
—Journal of Southern History
[T]his book is a good addition to the field of ethnic studies in America's bloodiest war and is of value to both scholars and the general public.
A useful read for anyone interested in the social aspects of the war, the black men in Union service, and domestic tensions within the Confederacy.
Invisible Southerners is useful read for anyone interested in the social aspects of the war, black men in Union service, and domestic tensions within the Confederacy.
—A. A. Nofi, StrategyPage
Invisible Southerners is a good historical work and will inspire future researchers to consider the role of the South's often neglected citizens.
—North & South