<< I am especially curious about the motivations which caused some
Southerners to choose to fight for the Union, and would appreciate
any information about this family. It is apparent that these brothers
made a deliberate effort to join the Union ranks, as they traveled a
long distance over hostile territory to join this regiment. While it is
true that they both eventually deserted, that was only after having
served over two years as Union volunteers. >>
This Blackwell family of SC is likely linked to the Blackwells of NW Alabama,
some of whom were also UNION loyalists. Among these Alabama Blackwell kin
2nd Lt., 1st Ala Cav, John G. Blackwell b 1837 Floyd Co GA; possible son of
James M. Blackwell b 1808 Elbert Co GA & sons Joshua Jackson Blackwell b 1832
Carroll Co GA and Preston Blackwell b 1845 Walker Co AL;
John Blackwell b 1798 TN & son William Carroll Blackwell b 1824 TN or AL.
Here are some "Profile Characteristics of Southern Loyalists", as I can
determine from reviewing many North Alabama families:
The Southern Loyalist Soldiers are generally born in hills or
mountains of southern Appalachia.
The families owned few, if any, slaves, instead came from a culture
of frontier self-sufficiency and independence.
Their concept of country derived from the Andrew Jackson model of
owning the country they had just built with their own hands; fathers or
grandfathers of many of the Unionist soldiers had served with Andy Jackson in
battles against the Creeks/Seminoles of AL/FL or against the British in New
Family religion and political thinking tended to be fundamentalist
(Primitive Baptist or similar - of course with numerous exceptions; generally
a "family values", God-centered orientation influenced by the Religions
Awakening Movement of the 1840s).
Alabama was a new State; many were born in the migration states
coming out of Virginia (i.e., NC/SC/TN/GA) and most of their parents had been
born outside Alabama. The nation was still in formative flux; not nearly as
fixed as our reference is today.
Family kinship ties and local community pressures influenced loyalty,
thinking and side-taking.
Regarding desertion. The rate of desertion was fairly high (but
understandable) for those with "behind the lines" families to protect or be
concerned about. The commanders looked upon these periodic desertions - many
to check on the safety and food supply of family - with some sympathy. I've
only found only one case of courtmarshall death sentence for a deserter among
the 2500 men assigned to the 1st Alabama Cavalry; even though perhaps 30%
deserted at some point and many returned during their service.
Joel Mize, researcher of NW Alabama Unionist families
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