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Re: Questions and Answers about Unionism in the South
Posted by: Ishmael Williams (ID *****3684) Date: April 07, 2003 at 15:53:46
In Reply to: Re: Questions and Answers about Unionism in the South by Margaret Storey of 780

A very interesting discussion of a much neglected chapter of the Civil War. It sounds like most of your research and information is for Alabama, but I was wondering Margaret and Don whether you see similar forces at play in the 1863 rebellion against the Confederacy in the Northeast Georgia mountains and acts of resistance to the Confederacy elsewhere across the upland south. I know resistance to the Confederacy was common in the mountains of Eastern Tennessee, western North Carolina, and of course the western part of Virginia (West Virginia). I understand that some resistance was organized and armed. Did the resistance in these regions extend to enlistment in Union Units?

I'll summarize the North Georgia episode: Like northern Alabama, northeast Georgia had been lukewarm to the Confederacy from the beginning and by the winter of 1862-63, the region (particularly Lumpkin County) harbored a large number of Union Loyalists (called "Tories") and Confederate Deserters who in January 1863 actually organized under a Union flag and marched against the county seat at Dahlonega, GA. The force may have included some of the Union men of Andrews Raiders who had broken out of jail.

Governor Brown issued Special Order Number 23 which authorized a Confederate force (of about 500 infantry and cavalry) to quell the rebellion which he described as deserters and disloyalists who were committing acts of robbery and threatening acts of violence to loyal southerners. The proclaimation also announced that the Governor would pardon absentees who returned to their commands within 20 days. Civilian insurgents were informed that they would be jailed if they did not desist. By February 1, 1863 the rebellion had been put down and 600 absentees sent back to their Confederate regiments and 53 civilians arrested and sent in chains to prison in Atlanta. State Guard contingents were detached for a short time to neighboring NE Georgia towns including Ellijay, Blairsville, Clarksville, and Gainesville for a show of force.

I had always understood that much of the resistance to the Confederacy in the mountains was related to the lack of slaveholders in the area and also the marginalization of this remote area from government and economics in the more southerly cotton-based agricultural regions of the state. It may also be significant that this region (NE Georgia) is the old gold belt which had since the 1840's attracted migrants from a broad area interested primarily in mining rather than farming and like northern Alabama had few slaveholders.

A detailed treatment of this north Georgia episode is included in Georgia Lee Tatum's "Disloyalty in the Confederacy" Univ. of North Carolina Press 1934.

By the way, I don't personally have any ancestors who served in the Union Army. Virtually all of my ancestors who lived in the hilly Piedmont of Georgia and the Carolinas but owned no slaves enlisted in whatever local CSA company was being recruited in their county. I do think the Union Loyalists aspect of our history is an interesting one and deserves fuller treatment. Thanks.

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