"...But their memories e'er shall remain for us
And their names,bright names, without stain for us;
The glory they won shall not wane for us,
In legend and lay
Our heros in Gray
Shall forever live over again for us."

----Abram Joseph Ryan(1838-1886)


After I began researching my family lines, I found I had 15 family members that fought in the Civil War. There were 3 gg grandfathers, two gg grandfather, Reuben Watters and Peter Prince fought for the Confederacy. Another gg grandfather, William Howerton, who happened also to be Peter's brother in law, first enlisted in the Confederacy, and when out, enlisted in the Union. Along with these, were 10 ggg uncles in the Confederacy and 2 in the Union. I became very interested in the War and the battles my family participated in. None in my families were wealthy plantation and slave owners. They were just every day farmers, with the courage to follow their convictions, even if it meant their deaths.

There are two flags that are my heritage. Old Glory, because I am American and members of my family have served and died for that flag, down to my son, who served in the U. S. Army. Uncles, Aunts, Cousins, served that flag in WWI, WWII, Korea, Viet Nam, and the Persian Gulf. This is the flag that brought our country back together. Wounds from the Civil War were healed as these Americans came together to fight a common foe.

The second flag, the Stars and Bars of the Confederacy, was also served by members of my family. Uncles, cousins, great great grandfathers served and died for my Southern heritage. It is as much a part of my heritage as the one that flies so proudly now. The Confederate flag now honors those long dead who fought for their beliefs, as strongly as did the Americans who died at the Argonne Forest, Guadlecanal, Pork Chop Hill, Mei Lei, and Iraq.

This is my heritage, of which I am very proud. It is a part of me, of who I am, and how I got here.

The debate about the actual cause of the "late unpleasantness" is still going on 135 years after the end of the War in 1865. It is called by many names, depending on, I suppose, your personal point of view, "The War of Northern Aggression", "The War Between the States", "The War of the Rebellion". Regardless of what it was called, this period of time in our history, 1861-1865, tore the country apart and set brother against brother. It was one of the most dramatic and traumatic events in the lives of our ancestors.

Popular belief is it was a racist war, based on slavery. Granted slavery became a part, but the cause was plain old fashioned fear and economics. In the South, there was the fear that Northern dominance would severely limit long held, and deeply cherished values---while in the North, there was fear that secession of any state would destroy the Union. The Southern states had been overwhelmed by the intrusion of the Federal government into what they felt were States Rights. The popular opinion of the Southern States in 1860, was simply that further erosion of States rights was intolerable, and that secession from the Union, allowed by the Constitution their great grandfathers had fought for, was the only course of action left to them.

Economics was a major factor in the cause of this war. The Northern states had the factories, ships, mineral and monetary wealth. The South was an agriculteral area, with cotton as the major crop. Most southern capitol was tied up in plantation land, or in speculation on crops like cotton, tobacco and sugar. Even though plantations were inefficient, the demand for cotton from British textile mills was such that it seemed investments in cotton offered limitless economic opportunities. Because of the great demand for cotton any infringement on it's growth and export was cause for alarm. With Lincoln's election this area of economy was challenged by the imposition of heavy trade tarrifs designed to protect Northern industry. This was the last thing the South needed, as free trade was the mainstay of the South's prosperity.

In the later 1850's, the dispute between free states and slave states had grown louder and more furious. As the country expanded into new territories to the west, both sides wanted to expand. Some in Congress did not want slavery to be a part of this expansion. The North clamored against the Supreme Courts Dred Scott Decision, which stated not only that a slave, being property, had no constitutional rights as a citizen, but also it was unconstitutional for the Congress to legislate the exclusion of slavery from new territories. The South, encouraged by the Dred Scott decision, was appalled when John Brown, a fanatical abolitionist, made an attempt to steal Federal weapons from the Arsenal at Harper's Ferry, Virgina to arm a Negro uprising.

In North and South, all the while, there were those who agreed the best way to settle the dispute was to disolve the Union. By 1859, there were 18 free states and 15 slave states. The South was at a disadvantage in both houses of Congress. The climax came the next year when Lincoln was elected President. He was very pro-union and felt strongly that slavery was wrong. The South now considered herself to be politically overwhelmed, and many people could see no other way than to secede from the Union. As the decisive year, 1860, drew to a close, the controversial Lincoln election, which had upset the balance of power between the Southern and Northern States, brought on secession. The slave holding states had been threatening to secede since Calhoun's time, nearly a generation before, and were now making good their threat. Eleven states, with South Carolina leading the way by seceding December 20, 1860, began to leave the Union.

It was evident that war was at hand, but most everyone felt if it did come, it would be short. The population of the Union in 1860 was roughly 31.5 million people. Of these 31.5 million, nearly seven percent, 2.2 million were directly involved in the War Between the States. The North with a population of 22 million and most of the country's factories, railroads, telegraph lines, ships, mineral and monetary wealth, could afford to feel secure when opposed by a small group of Southern states with a total population of about 9 million, of which nearly a third were Negro slaves. The South could not believe that it would actually be invaded and held by force of arms to a compac it wanted to abrogate. Even if Federal troops did invade it's territory, it felt quite sure that the dispised "Yankee Shopkeepers" would be easily repelled. This involvement did not recognise sex or age and included men, women and children. Thus, cutting across the very fabric of our nation, this single event, more than any other, left an indelible mark on all of us.

The organization of Confederate States of America with Jefferson Davis as President was launched February, 1861. Davis had been born in 1808 in Kentucky and entered the U. S. Military Academy from Missouri. He served on the western frontier until 1835, when he resigned his commission and became a planter in Mississippi. He later returned to political life as a senator and later as Secretary of State under President Franklin Pierce.

At this time the Confederacy was made up of 6 states: South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana. Texas made it 7 on March 2. A meeting in Montgomery, Alabama set up the first Confederate government. President was Jefferson Davis, Vice-President Alexander Hamilton Stevens, Attorney General Judah Benjamin, Secretary of Navy Steven Mallory, Secretary of Treasury Gustavas Memminger, Secretary of War Leroy Walker, Postmaster General John Reagon and Secretary of State Robert Toombs.

Despite all the menacing gestures and pompous boasts, neither side was ready for war. The Confederacy had no standing army and no armed vessels. There were only 16,000 men in the United States army, nearly all of them were stationed in the west to guard frontier posts against Indian raids. It's Commander, General Winfield Scott, was 74 years old and so fat from eating rich foods that he could not mount a horse. The Navy, too, was weak. Its fleet had less than 70 servicable ships. Of these only 4 steam powered ships were on the east coast. The rest were scattered all over the world, and with communications the way they were then, it would take many months to call them home.

The men from the South were not just rich plantation and slave owners. Most did not own slaves, and managed to barely eke out a living for their families from soil worn out by many years of cotton crops. During the war, the Southern army was short of food, clothes, ammunition, and shoes. They fought, just as their Northern brothers did, for what they believed in, not for or against slavery but for their principles of life and States Rights. Rather than cover or hide the memory, we need to understand and preserve the events and emotions surrounding it.

The half century dispute between the two sections of the country had now departed the realm of words and entered the realm of war, to forever change the concepts of the United States of America.

"To us of the South the men who wore the gray are our brothers, defenders, heroes. The ex-Confederate may now reside in Florida or Washington Territory: but his heart will be still and cold in death when it ceases to throb and warm at the mention of the soldiers of the South, whether they sleep, or yet live"

Rev. J. C. Granberry, D. D.

Kentucky and Missouri were not considered Confederate States, even though they were sympathetic to the Confederacy. In recognition of the sympathizers in these 2 states, the Confederate States of America added 2 stars for them on their flag. Maryland and later to be created West Virginia, both contributed troops to the Confederacy, but, did not vote to secede.
Union Confederacy
1. California 1. Alabama 1/11/1861
2. Connecticut 2. Arkansas 5/6/1861
3. Illinois 3. Florida 1/10/1861
4. Indiana 4. Georgia 1/26/1861
5. Iowa 5. Louisiana 1/26/1861
6. Kansas 6. Mississippi 1/9/1861
7. Maine 7. North Carolina 5/20/1861
8. Massachusetts 8. South Carolina 12/20/1860
9. Michigan 9. Tennessee 5/6/1861
10. Minnesota 10. Texas 2/1/1861
11. New Hampshire 11. Virginia 4/17/1861
12. New Jersey 12. Kentucky
13. New York 13. Missouri
15. Oregon
16. Pennsylvania
18. Vermont
19 Wisconsin

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May 24, 1997

Copyright 1996-2003 by Ethel Taylor

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