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Pro-Union Southerners

I was surprised to read about the 1st Alabama Cavalry today. This unit was from the deep south and it fought for the Union during the American Civil War. I had no idea that such a unit ever existed!

Reading further, I discovered that large portions of Northern Alabama had been opposed to secession and remained loyal to the United States. Further, these areas were never under Confederate control and they raised several units which supported Union forces.

The 1st Alabama Calvary even served as escorts for General Sherman on his infamous March to the Sea late in the war. Curious, I looked for more. I found Lincoln's Loyalists by Richard Current from 1992 in the library today and checked it out.

There were quite a few pro-Union southern units in the Civil War. Areas such as Western Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee delivered dozens of units each to the USA to help in crushing the separatist rebellion. However, deep south states like Texas, Alabama, and North Carolina also contributed.

Every Union advance into the south brought out local loyal Union supporters who were eager to enlist who had not had the opportunity previously. I would have expected that the black population of the south supported the Union.

However, I was surprised that so many white southerners (some who were slave holders) refused to join the rebellion and openly fought to preserve the United States of America. The loyalist in the south were a major hindrance to the rebellion and they certainly tied up Confederate troops that were needed elsewhere.

Many northerners opposed the war and many were sympathetic to the southern separatists. This was manifested in many ways including anti-draft rioting. Lincoln may well have been the most unpopular President in American history during his term in office.

However, there were no Michigan, New Hampshire, or New York units fighting for the rebellion. Those fighting for the Confederate cause represented a divided south against a united north. I guess this should have not been surprising to me.

I do have a good grasp of American history and know about the history of the war. This aspect of it just has not gotten a lot of coverage. However, it is only logical that many of the southerners were pro-union.

How would you feel if you found yourself one day being told that you were no longer a citizen of your nation, that you were now a citizen of a new one, and that your services were now required to help defeat the nation you had been loyal to all of your life? Would rebellion against the rebellion enter your mind? The American patriotism of the pro-Union southerners is not that hard to understand.