A good case can be made that the average confederate soldier had connections to slavery, either as coming from a slaveowning household, being temporarily down on his luck and hoping to regain slaves, being in a position that directly supported the institution, or being a member of a slave patrol, or something similar. The claim that most had never seen a slave cannot be substantiated and is most probably false. Slaves were ubiquitous in most parts of the South. Whether a white man had a direct connection to slavery or not, he still had a reason to want slavery to continue from the standpoint of racial control, especially in counties where blacks outnumbered whites.The average confederate soldier lived on a small farm of 25 acres or less, usually married with children and seldom traveled outside his own county. Most had never seen a slave. What made them fight? But then was the issue of states rights enough to make them fight? I feel it is difficult for us to understand their true feelings as the form of government we live under today has no resemblance to what it was like then. Or did the southerners with the power and money sell the common soldier a bill of goods to get them to fight for the wealthy aristocracy of the south, which the abolition of slavery would have threatened. Wars always start by some form of politician, it seems. So would the wealthy aristocracy of the south have gone to war to protect their wealth. Heck yes. So then what was the average northern soldier fighting for?
The average Union soldier was fighting to preserve the Union and came to see the destruction of slavery as serving that cause.