Was there a Southern exodus at secession?

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I was wondering if people left the south in significant numbers when secession began? I couldn’t find any relative information on Google, but surely there must have been a patriotic base that remained loyal to the Union. Were there any large groups that left? (For the sake of clarity, let large = >50)
 

jgoodguy

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I was wondering if people left the south in significant numbers when secession began? I couldn’t find any relative information on Google, but surely there must have been a patriotic base that remained loyal to the Union. Were there any large groups that left? (For the sake of clarity, let large = >50)
West Virginia left the CSA for the Union early on.
 

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Mass exodus in April 1861? Not so much. But, a lot of Northern-born folks did leave the South did so immigrants. Partially this was due to loyalty to the U.S. and partially it was due to harassment of "outsiders" by Confederate nationalists.

Large numbers of blacks left the Confederacy.
 
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16thVA

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West Virginia left the CSA for the Union early on.
No, JG, WV was kidnapped, on paper, and half the new state at least fought to keep Virginia one state. It was the least Unionist of the border states. Half the counties voted in favor of the Confederacy and even in some of those counties that voted against secession they still sent most of their men to the Confederacy. Scott A. Mackenzie is working on a new book for the WVU Press, and his essay, which unfortunately is only available by Project Muse (subscription) lays out the premise of the book.

https://muse.jhu.edu/article/666080/pdf

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I was wondering if people left the south in significant numbers when secession began? I couldn’t find any relative information on Google, but surely there must have been a patriotic base that remained loyal to the Union. Were there any large groups that left? (For the sake of clarity, let large = >50)
There was,a fair amount of Unionists who fled from Arkansas per the book "The Uncivil War Iregular warfare in the upper South" Robert Mackey University of Oklahoma Press.
There were young men from East Tennessee that fled into Kentucky to join the Union Army.
There was a massacre of Unionist German immigrants in Texas who tried to flee to
Mexico.
Overall though it was difficult to leave the South.Many young men from East Tennessee were killed trying to reach Kentucky.
Leftyhunter
 

jgoodguy

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No, JG, WV was kidnapped, on paper, and half the new state at least fought to keep Virginia one state. It was the least Unionist of the border states. Half the counties voted in favor of the Confederacy and even in some of those counties that voted against secession they still sent most of their men to the Confederacy. Scott A. Mackenzie is working on a new book for the WVU Press, and his essay, which unfortunately is only available by Project Muse (subscription) lays out the premise of the book.

https://muse.jhu.edu/article/666080/pdf

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You said 50 or more and I provided an example.
I don't do reading assignments, you got evidence present it. Who in the world is Scott A. MacKenzie and why is he an authority?
All fair in love and war and taking a chunk of the Enemies territory seems legit to me.
Last I checked, VA said it was not under the Union Constitution, so how can anyone complain.
 
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16thVA

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Well, JG, voluntarily leaving a state is not the same thing as being taken from a state. I see a big difference between the two circumstances. If you don't even want to take a look at what I presented that is fine. There is a bio on Scott Mackenzie at the link I posted.
 

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Well, JG, voluntarily leaving a state is not the same thing as being taken from a state. I see a big difference between the two circumstances. If you don't even want to take a look at what I presented that is fine. There is a bio on Scott Mackenzie at the link I posted.
You are welcome to your unevidenced opinion. I have no problem with that. It is not me you have to convince, but the other members and future visitors to CWT.
 

jgoodguy

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Well, JG, voluntarily leaving a state is not the same thing as being taken from a state. I see a big difference between the two circumstances. If you don't even want to take a look at what I presented that is fine. There is a bio on Scott Mackenzie at the link I posted.
Also this is discussion for a different thread, not here. I gave you at least 50 persons that left the CSA for the Union.
 
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16thVA

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You are welcome to your unevidenced opinion. I have no problem with that. It is not me you have to convince, but the other members and future visitors to CWT.
Well, you didn't show how the entire state of West Virginia left, you merely said that it did. I showed with the map, which you seem to have overlooked, that most of the state did not want to be separated from Virginia, and an article which explains the collapse of Union support in West Virginia after the vote on secession of May 23, 1861. The fact that the Federal government broke the state of Virginia to satisfy a minority of Unionists does not justify your statement that "West Virginia" left the CSA. It clearly didn't do so of its own free will, which is what the original question was about, and at least half of the state was not "loyal" to the Union. If you had said "some of the people in West Virginia left", that would have been fine and I would not have responded. But you overstated the case and it needed correction.

1860-61_Secession_in_Appalachia_by_County.jpg
 

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I was wondering if people left the south in significant numbers when secession began? I couldn’t find any relative information on Google, but surely there must have been a patriotic base that remained loyal to the Union. Were there any large groups that left? (For the sake of clarity, let large = >50)
Colonel George Kirk commander of the 3rd North Carolina Mounted Infantry Union definitely got well over 50 Confederate deserters to join his command and leave North Carolina for Union controlled East Tennessee.
"Kirk's Raiders a notorious band of scoundrels and thieves" Bumgardner Tar Heel Press has lots of details,and a roster of the men of the 2nd and 3rd North Carolina Mounted Infantry Union.
Leftyhunter
 
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jgoodguy

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I suggest you PM one of the friendly moderators to split the 'historian's' posts off to a new thread. Much better than complaining online. Take the time to note the post numbers in the post. Alternatively you can also report the first of the posts, with the post numbers and ask for a split.
 
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leftyhunter

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Well, you didn't show how the entire state of West Virginia left, you merely said that it did. I showed with the map, which you seem to have overlooked, that most of the state did not want to be separated from Virginia, and an article which explains the collapse of Union support in West Virginia after the vote on secession of May 23, 1861. The fact that the Federal government broke the state of Virginia to satisfy a minority of Unionists does not justify your statement that "West Virginia" left the CSA. It clearly didn't do so of its own free will, which is what the original question was about, and at least half of the state was not "loyal" to the Union. If you had said "some of the people in West Virginia left", that would have been fine and I would not have responded. But you overstated the case and it needed correction.

1860-61_Secession_in_Appalachia_by_County.jpg
Are their examples of Virginians crossing into Union controlled territory to escape Confederate rule?
Leftyhunter
 

leftyhunter

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I was wondering if people left the south in significant numbers when secession began? I couldn’t find any relative information on Google, but surely there must have been a patriotic base that remained loyal to the Union. Were there any large groups that left? (For the sake of clarity, let large = >50)
If one considers Southern men who joined the Union Army as leaving the Confederate controlled South as,valid examples of leaving the South then we would have not an example of 50 men but an example of 104k white men and approximately 150k black Southern men.
An excellent book on this topic is "Lincolns Loyalists Union soldiers from the Confederacy "Richard Current Northeastern University Press.
Do you consider Unionist guerrillas who while they did not physically leave the South they did wrest control from the Confederacy as leaving the Confederacy?
Leftyhunter
 
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I ask for tolerance for posting the following for it is a long narrative. It is about Laban Gwinn and family, and how they removed to Indiana from Virginia and returned after the war to their homestead:

"John Gwinn and his wife are buried in the Wickline cemetery near Meadow Bridge next to their daughter, Achsah, who was killed when she was eight years old in a freak accident when a tree limb fell on her. John’s tombstone, which was not erected until the 1930’s, gives the date of his death as 1870, but this is incorrect. An old bill now in the possession of Nelson Gwinn is headed: "February 1871 John Gwinn moved to Lavin (sic) Gwinn on Newriver." The bill is for materials and labor for building a cabin, and totals $141.95, with $7.95 deducted (perhaps a down payment), leaving a balance of $134.00. The chimney of this cabin was still standing when I was a child in the 1930’s, and I remember its being pointed out to me as the chimney of "Pappy John’s" cabin.

Also, among the "Gwinn papers" in Nelson s possession is a note-book kept by Laban Gwinn, in which he had written, "John Gwinn was born Feb. 3 1790 died July 27, 1873 Sunday morning 6 o’clock." I suppose John Gwinn came to be near his son in his old age (he would have been 82 then) and died there, but was taken to Meadow Bridge for burial.

In January of 1861, for one thousand dollars, John Gwinn had sold the Round Bottom property he had acquired from the Sanners to his son, Laban. This deed was signed on January 20 in 1861 in "the county of Fayette and State of Virginia," but was not recorded until October 23, 1866, in the state of West Virginia. During this time, of course, a war had been fought and the new state formed. Had it been recorded when it was made, it might have been lost; Union forces burned the courthouse at Fayetteville, and the records were removed by a southern sympathizer and hidden in Montgomery County, Virginia, until the war was over.

Laban and his wife must have been already living on the property. Nelson Gwinn has a document signed by George S. Birditt and Giles Birditt (Burdette) giving permission for Laban Gwinn to marry their sister, Jane. This is dated the fourth day of November, 1854. By 1861, Laban had built a house and barn on the Round Bottom property and was farming there. But the life there was to be disrupted by the Civil War, which brought hardship, heartache, and division to so many families in the border state of West Virginia.

This heartache is evident in a letter written to Laban Gwinn while he was a refugee in Indiana by his brother-in-law, Samuel. The letter was written in 1863, in Iowa, where Samuel, perhaps, had settled on the "congress land" his grandfather had directed to be purchased for the use of his grandsons. He wrote:

I have received no letters from my own parents since this rebellion broke out, or since this war began. I was, am yet, and always will be Union; live or die, sink or swim, survive or perish and I supposed that you must have all gone South for I continued to write to you for some time after and I received no letters. It’s a long night of anxiety; two years and more—and no letter from Papa, or Mother, or brother, or sister, or cousin, or friend, or the home of our birth. And particularly when times are such as they are.

Laban, too, was a Union man, and his loyalty was to cost dearly. (Other letters written to Laban Gwinn while he was in Indiana were published in West Virginia History, Volume XLIII, no. 3, Spring 1982, "The Civil War Letters of Laban Gwinn: A Union Refugee," by William E. Cox.)

In September of 1861 there was active fighting in the New River Valley. General Floyd had artillery positioned on Cotton Hill to keep the Union forces from using the ferry at Gauley Bridge. On October 29, General Rosecrans stationed Brigadier General H. W. Benham opposite the mouth of Loup Creek with 3000 men, but New River "went on a rampage," and they were unable to get across the river to destroy Floyd’s artillery. However, there was a skirmish at McCoy’s Mill, site of present-day Glen Jean, and Floyd’s cavalry commander was killed. Floyd fell back to Piney Creek in Raleigh County and McCoy’s Mill was then in the hands of Union troops. In December of that year, Laban Gwinn took the oath of allegiance before a Union officer, and was given a pass back to his home on New River.

W. D. Thurmond, of Oak Hill, joined the Confederate Army on August 26, 1862, and organized a company of partisan rangers who were sworn into the army as part of Lt. Cal. David S. Hounshell’s Battalion, Virginia Cavalry, on September 19, 1862, at Fayetteville. Although they were not formally organized until September, these guerrilla fighters were active in the New River Valley during the previous summer. Some time in August, Laban Gwinn was warned ( family tradition says by a neighbor boy whom he had befriended, and who swam the river to warn him) that the Confederates were coming to arrest him. While Laban guarded the boat landing with a rifle, Mary Jane packed food, clothing, and three small children (Sarah, John, and eighteen-month-old Loomis) into a covered wagon. The family started up the mountain toward Camp McCoy’s Mill, and as they looked back, saw their house and barn burning.

Two military passes, now in the possession of Nelson Gwinn, reveal what happened next:

Camp McCoy’s Mill

August 24, 1862

Capt. Levering

Dear Sir:

The bearer Laban Gwynn, a good union man with his family intends to go to Indiana, he is in reduced Circumstances, the bushwhackers robbed him, you would oblige me by giving him a pass for one of the government boats to reach Ohio.

Very respectfully,

M. Stumpf Capt.

Com. Post


Camp McCoy’s Mill

Fayette County West Va

Aug. 30.62

Guards & Pickets

Pass Laban Gwinn and family through the lines to Indiana.

They are Union Refugees.

by order George Boehm

Capt. Co. 3 7th Regt.O.V.

Cmndg Post

Laban’s sister, Francena, had married John Fulwider and moved to Indiana in 1843. This must be the reason Laban chose to go there as a refugee.

We get a few hints about the life of the Gwinn family in exile in Indiana from the letters they received from friends and relatives while they were there. They must have prospered. An 1864 letter from Mary Jane’s brother, George Birdet [Burdette], himself an exile to Jackson County, says, "You are a doing so well. I reckon you will stay whear you are as long as you live." They may have considered staying in Indiana, or migrating farther West. In 1864 brother—in—law Samuel wrote from Iowa:

You wrote you wanted to know something about land and the prices of land and the chance for a situation and so on. Well sir land lately has risen in value but then you know that is the case with everything elce. But sir land is plenty yet and cheape, that is prarie land, and can be bought as low as two dollars per acre and that as good as you ever saw. But timber is dreadful scarce this part of the country and it is all that is to hinder any boddy from settling right here. If you come prepared to buy a small farm or at any rate if you had fifteen hundred dollars to invest in land you might do splendidly well with it out here at this time. But if you intend or expect to rent for a few years until you can get at your property in Virginia you had best remain where you are. You are nearer to market than you would be out here in Iowa and would stand a better chance to sell your produce. If you are determined, that is if you have given up the idea of going back to Virginia, you had best come out west where land is cheape so that you may stand some chance to get some land of your own.

They had made friends in Indiana, too. Even after they returned to Round Bottom, Margaret Clingenfield wrote in a neighborly, newsy letter, "Jane, don’t give Laban any peace until he sells and comes back again." (Perhaps they returned to West Virginia with the idea of selling their land and then returning to the West.)

The letters of the spring of 1865, however, revealed that peace was returning to the New River Valley, though much bitterness remained between relatives and neighbors who had fought on opposite sides. Whatever their reasons were, sometime in the late summer or fall of 1865 Laban and his family came back to Round Bottom. Family tradition says that they "camped out" in a sort of cave, or under an overhang of rock, for two years while they rebuilt the house and barn the Confederates had burned.

The courage and stamina of Mary Jane Gwinn in all these hardships is almost unbelievable. Leaving the first home she and her husband had toiled to build in the wilderness; traveling all the way to Indiana with three small children; then leaving relatives and new friends there and coming back to a homestead in ruins; rebuilding the home and bearing more children under what must have been extremely primitive conditions must have required extraordinary strength of character.

Among the trials the family faced was the loss of a daughter, Emily, at age three. Another daughter, Cynthia, is said to have "pined away" and died at the age of twenty-four. Both are buried in the family cemetery at Round Bottom."

Thank you for your patience.
John
 
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16thVA

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Are their examples of Virginians crossing into Union controlled territory to escape Confederate rule?
Leftyhunter
Hi Lefty, I haven't come across any, though I'm sure some people moved west or up to PA. I know that Pierpont settled his family in PA for a while.

If you have Project Muse available I would suggest you take a look at the article I posted in my first posting by Scott A. Mackenzie, though it is about regular army recruitment and not guerrillas.
 
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I wonder how many people left the Confederacy under President Davis's order of banishment (my bold):

PROCLAMATION OF BANISHMENT :
Whereas, the Congress of the Confederate States of America did, by an act approved on the 8th day of August, 1861, entitled "An act respecting alien enemies," make provision that proclamation should be issued by the President in relation to alien enemies," and in conformity with the provisions of said act:

Now, therefore, I, Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, do issue this my proclamation: and I do hereby warn and require every male citizen of the United States, of the age of fourteen years and upwards, now Within the Confederate States, and adhering to the Government of the United States, and acknowledging the authority Of the same, and not being a citizen of the Confederate States, to depart from the Confederate States within forty days from the date of this proclamation. And I do warn all persons above described, who shall remain within the Confederate States after the expiration of said period of forty days, that they will be treated as alien enemies.

Provided, however, That this proclamation shall not be considered as applicable, during the existing war, to citizens Of the United States residing within the Confederate States with intent to become citizens thereof, and who shall make declaration of such intention in due form, acknowledging the authority of this Government; nor shall this proclamation be considered as extending to the States of Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, Missouri, the District of Columbia, the Territories of Arizona and New Mexico, and the Indian Territory south of Kansas, who shall not be chargeable with actual hostility or other crime against the public safety, and who shall acknowledge the authority of the Government of the Confederate States.

And I do further proclaim and make known that I have established the rules and regulations hereto annexed in accordance with the provisions of said law.

Given under my hand and the seal of the Confederate States of America, at the city of Richmond, on the 14th day Of August, A. D. 1861.

By the President: JEFFERSON DAVIS.
S. M. T. HUNTER, Secretary of State.

Political History of the United States of America During the Great Rebellion, Edward McPherson, pg. 121,
 

Northern Light

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I was wondering if people left the south in significant numbers when secession began?
I would suggest that at the beginning of the war, most people were waiting to see what was going to happen. Not knowing that the war would last for four long and bloody years, most people would have hesitated before pulling up stakes and heading north. This may have changed if the war had ended at 1st Manassas, and Unionists had chosen to leave the CSA, but again, perhaps not as they would like have not got a good price for their land, if they owned any. What would you have done in the same circumstances?
 
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civilken

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I do understand all the statistics on this question. But for the average Southerner who lost everything the idea of travel was impossible in less you had relatives somewhere else. I'm sure some of the rich did but the average soldier was just looking to get back to some sort of normal life. If you can call such desperate times normal.
 
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