Confederates after the Confederacy

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Aug 20, 2018
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Fayette County, WV
#1
Back again with another question to aide me in my writing... So, what was the mindset of the Confederate families, soldiers and the like after their defeat and the Confederacy was dissolved. More particularly the Confederates of the Western Virginia territory. Did they remain sour toward the Federal Government? Where they just relieved that the war was over? Are there any links out there I can find info on this?
 

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Patrick H

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#2
I wish I could help you with some accuracy. I can't, but I am pretty sure that someone here will be able to comment with some authority about West Virginia.

I can tell you that here in Missouri there was a very mixed bag of feelings. The war had been particularly brutal out here, even if it usually didn't involve giant pitched battles. People really suffered here and I'm sure they were glad the war was over. But there was plenty of bitter feeling, too. Think of all the southern guerrilla fighters here. It is amazing that most of them returned to peaceful pursuits as soon as they could. A relative few were either not able or not inclined to submit quietly, and we saw the emergence of criminal gangs that continued to make war on those they perceived to be their enemies. Banks, express companies, and authority figures against whom they held grudges were often victimized. Think of Jesse and Frank James, the Younger brothers, and so on.

But I think the vast majority of ex confederates were able to assimilate back into society very well. Once their right to vote was reestablished, they began to successfully hold political offices, serve as sheriffs, run successful businesses and farms, and so on. They were openly proud of their service and participated in reunions fairly often, and many became very popular, if minor, celebrities.
 
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Tampa Bay
#3
Back again with another question to aide me in my writing... So, what was the mindset of the Confederate families, soldiers and the like after their defeat and the Confederacy was dissolved. More particularly the Confederates of the Western Virginia territory. Did they remain sour toward the Federal Government? Where they just relieved that the war was over? Are there any links out there I can find info on this?
My guess is most Confederates felt relief....Many links on Reconstruction right here on CWT....
 
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Houston, Texas
#4
Since West Virginia was not a Confederate state, it did not have to bear the burden of reconstruction.

However, I remember my uncle telling me once that former Confederates in West Virginia were barred not only from voting, but from owning land. I haven't done any in-depth research on that, but it sounds like it could be true.
 
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#5
Depends how hungry you were. Many blamed the Yankees for their desperation or hated them for invading their land and killing their husbands, sons and other family members. However some women even married Yankees to save themselves from desperation. Many believe the feud between the Hatfields and McCoys likely started when Asa Harmon McCoy who fought for the Union was murdered by Jim Vance, Devil Anse Hatfield's uncle, while returning from the war and the pig issue escalated it. Lots of families came down on both sides including Mary Lincoln's. I guess each person had a different perspective back then and perhaps the hardened ones took a while to soften if they ever did. Just like today, going along publicly like they did taking the oath etc. doesn't necessarily mean you agree, it just made your life easier at the time. Sort of "lesser of two evils" kind of thing.
 
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Patrick H

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#6
Since West Virginia was not a Confederate state, it did not have to bear the burden of reconstruction.

However, I remember my uncle telling me once that former Confederates in West Virginia were barred not only from voting, but from owning land. I haven't done any in-depth research on that, but it sounds like it could be true.
I will frankly admit that I am taking a stab at this next comment. Missouri was also a border state and I believe ex-Confederates here were denied their full rights of citizenship (including voting) for five years. In any event, they did eventually get their rights restored, and it took them very little time to begin to assert themselves.
 
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#7
I was surprised some years back to meet a man (a regular customer of the company for which I worked) with a rather unusual last name... Woolfolk. He was from Mexico, and would make bi-weekly treks up to Tucson. Since I was a collateral descendant of a Woolfolk from Virginia, we would often jokingly call each other Cousin (Primo in Spanish.)

Some months after discovering his name, I learned through a family member, that part of the Woolfolk family (including my collateral ancestor, a civilian doctor who worked out of Chimborazo Hospital in Richmond alongside his wife, a nurse) decided to vacate 'Occupied Virginia' for greener pastures 'South of the Border.' I related this information to our customer, who queried his father about their family origins... turns out the first Woolfolk in their lineage was a doctor from Virginia who settled in Caborca with his wife in early 1866. Soon after arriving, a Yellow Fever outbreak occured, and the good doctor and his wife tended to the sick and dying in the local clinic. She would later die from the same epidemic that befell so many local residents. He would later remarry a local nurse, raise a family, and die far from his old Virginia home.

For him and his wife, the easiest way to cope with the Confederacy's loss was to start over in a fresh new land. Indeed, a great many ex-soldiers on both sides struck out for a new start. Some went out of the country while others turned to the frontier. Was it hatred, bitterness, or anguish that prompted so many to transplant? That I cannot answer definitively. Certainly, however, there was a certain yearning in those immediate post-war years that transcended politics and caused a great many to relocate far from the bloody fields of war and from their home towns left vacant by so much death. I would love to know these answers, but alas I feel that time has forever closed that chapter of our history.
 
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#8
Back again with another question to aide me in my writing... So, what was the mindset of the Confederate families, soldiers and the like after their defeat and the Confederacy was dissolved. More particularly the Confederates of the Western Virginia territory. Did they remain sour toward the Federal Government? Where they just relieved that the war was over? Are there any links out there I can find info on this?
We have a few threads on the thousands of ex Confederate's who immigrated to Brazil. Some went to Cuba and fewer went to Western Europe. Most of course stayed in the US although many moved to Western states. Slavery was still legal in Brazil and Spanish Cuba.
Leftyhunter
 
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#9
Back again with another question to aide me in my writing... So, what was the mindset of the Confederate families, soldiers and the like after their defeat and the Confederacy was dissolved. More particularly the Confederates of the Western Virginia territory. Did they remain sour toward the Federal Government? Where they just relieved that the war was over? Are there any links out there I can find info on this?
One sentiment was certainly in restoring white racial superiority by forming various white racist paramilitaries such has the Ju Klux Klan,the Red Shirts, the Knights of the White Camilla. The response by federal and state authorities was mostly lack luster and white terror against black people lasted well after the ACW. I have a thread on the US Army vs the racist paramilitary forces if your interested.
Leftyhunter
 
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#13
One sentiment was certainly in restoring white racial superiority by forming various white racist paramilitaries such has the Ju Klux Klan,the Red Shirts, the Knights of the White Camilla. The response by federal and state authorities was mostly lack luster and white terror against black people lasted well after the ACW. I have a thread on the US Army vs the racist paramilitary forces if your interested.
Leftyhunter
The effort to restore/maintain that racial hierarchy was in direct proportion to the demographics of any particular region across the US. Don’t kid yourself.
 

damYankee

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#15
Many veterans of the Confederacy moved west, Oregon, Idaho, Washington and California offered opportunities for a fresh start. During the war gold rushes in Idaho drew in many ruffians as did the gold rushes in the Dakotas.
There are old mining towns spread out across the west baring the names of southern cities, Atlanta Idaho, Dixie, etc.
In Idaho City which at the time of the war was the territorial capital and a booming gold town there were as in many of the gold camps, organized groups of ex confederate and ex union soldiers who would often revert to open conflict.
Idaho City from 1863 to 1870 had the highest murder rate in the nation according to many legends,
 

ErnieMac

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#17
Excerpt from the Find A Grave website of Confederate Brigadier General William Lowther Jackson.
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/8927/william-lowther-jackson
"When the war ended in Virginia, he refused to surrender. He headed west, finally receiving a parole in Brownsville, Texas, on July 26, 1865. He temporarily emigrated to Mexico, returning to what had become West Virginia, where he learned that ex-Confederates were prohibited from practicing law. He moved to Kentucky and gained appointment as a jurist, remaining on the bench until his death in Louisville."​
 
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#19
The effort to restore/maintain that racial hierarchy was in direct proportion to the demographics of any particular region across the US. Don’t kid yourself.
So terrorism against black people was justified because the South had more blacks then the North. That's a great argument except at the same time pro Confederate posters claim tens of thousands of black Confederate soldiers fought on their behalf and slaves were deliriously happy to be slaves.
Leftyhunter
 

archieclement

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#20
So terrorism against black people was justified because the South had more blacks then the North. That's a great argument except at the same time pro Confederate posters claim tens of thousands of black Confederate soldiers fought on their behalf and slaves were deliriously happy to be slaves.
Leftyhunter
Who has said slaves were deliriously happy to be slaves?

I must have missed that thread, can you refer to me it or quote the deliriously happy remark? Your constantly referring to things that aren't in the thread at all is rather confusing
 
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