Okay the America Civil War is over….the North has defeated the South in the war of “Northern Aggression”…..where did the losers slink off to after the fall?
Not all ran home to the plantation to lick their wounds.
Some went West and even some went as far as Mexico….but what did the majority actually do?
The late Charlie Daniels had a decent hit in 1974 with “The South’s Gonna Do It Again.” It would have provided a proper ear worm for Confederate forces and loyalists in 1865 after Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Courthouse. Post-war conditions were not ideal in the southern states. Most of the war had been fought on Confederate soil, and it showed. Agriculture and infrastructure were devastated. Thousands of lives had been lost; other lives were irretrievably damaged. Economic opportunity was nearly nonexistent.
Some people went West to start over. There was land to be settled for displaced Southerners. More than one writer has suggested that part of the controversy in Tombstone, Arizona, between the Earps and the Cow-boys was that the Earps and their backers were Northerners — Virgil and James had both fought in the Union army — and as Casey Tefertiller writes in Wyatt Earp: The Life Behind the Legend, “the ranchers and cowboys of southern Arizona were mostly Democrats of Southern origin or sympathies.” (Doc Holliday, Earp ally and son of Georgia, was an exception.) But not everyone who remained loyal to the defeated Confederacy — the noble “Lost Cause,” celebrated by poets like Father Abram Ryan, per the Alabama website — even stayed within the freshly reunited United States. Slavery was abolished. The cause was lost. The war was over — but that didn’t have to mean the end. They were facing a military occupation by Northern troops in the wake of the conflict, what some called the “War of Northern Aggression.”
Then there are the defeated leaders…..what became of these men?
Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, spent two years shackled to a wall in a Virginia prison. He had many unlikely sympathetic supporters including the Pope, who advocated for mercy, and even some former enemies and abolitionists. After he was released he went to Canada and Cuba and England and eventually managed a successful insurance company, hiring only former Confederate officers. He remained an unrepentant racist and Confederate supporter until the end of his life.
Alexander Stephens, the vice president of the Confederacy, was arrested and held in prison at George’s Island in Boston until October, 1865. He was released from indemnity by Andrew Johnson, a pro-slavery, anti-Black President. He was elected to the Senate, which refused to allow him to sit; was elected to Congress; and became the governor of Georgia. Stephens was a rabid anti-Black racist who wrote the “Cornerstone Speech” stating the the Civil War was all about slavery and that Blacks would never be the equals of Whites.
There were so many things that most Americans do not know about the Civil War….so much more than bang bang shoot’um up……
I Read, I Write, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”