View of Cold Mountain. Photo by Henry Neufeld. (Photo: Courtesy of Rob Neufeld)
William Pingree Inman, the real-life soldier on whom Charles Frazier based his Civil War novel, “Cold Mountain,” had been a Confederate soldier.
Although Union sentiment had been strong in the mountains up to the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln’s call for troops to fight the Confederacy in April 1861 had made mountain men, already made wary of Northern domination, choose to side with their Southern kin. The declaration of war had swept up such men as Inman of Haywood County in a wave of homeland security and family honor. Although politically controlling slavocrats engineered the war, most soldiers enlisted because of history and propaganda relating to an invasion. In 1861 and 1862, over 95 percent of enlistments were in the Confederate Army, as rigorously documented by Terrell Garren in his book, “Mountain Myth: Unionism in Western North Carolina.”
Western North Carolina’s contribution to the Confederate army, as measured by percentage of the population, exceeded all other states. Once involved in the fighting, the soldiers discovered some disquieting realities. Officers, generally of a higher class, were allowed to go home when they wanted. The Confederacy initiated conscription and executed deserters. Slaughters in battle seemed endless. The South’s invasion of Maryland in 1862 belied its defensive mission.
Inman had fought for two years beyond his one-year hitch before deserting. He then returned to battle, suffered an injury and deserted again. By the time he’d walked home from a hospital in Raleigh, desertion had become...
Rest of Article: https://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/2019/06/16/visiting-our-past-cold-mountain-unearths-truths-civil-war/1433894001/