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By Jonathan Dean Sarris

Most american citizens give some thought to the Civil struggle as a sequence of dramatic clashes among gigantic armies led through romantic-seeming leaders. yet within the Appalachian groups of North Georgia, issues have been very assorted. targeting Fannin and Lumpkin counties within the Blue Ridge Mountains alongside Georgia’s northern border, A Separate Civil battle: groups in clash within the Mountain South argues for a extra localized, idiosyncratic knowing of this momentous interval in our nation’s historical past. The ebook unearths that, for lots of members, this warfare used to be fought much less for summary ideological factors than for purposes tied to domestic, kin, associates, and community.

Making use of a big trove of letters, diaries, interviews, govt files, and sociological info, Jonathan Dean Sarris brings to existence a formerly obscured model of our nation’s such a lot divisive and harmful conflict. From the outset, the possibility of secession and conflict divided Georgia’s mountain groups alongside the strains of race and faith, and warfare itself basically heightened those tensions. because the accomplice executive started to draft males into the military and grab offers from farmers, many mountaineers turned extra disaffected nonetheless. They banded jointly in armed squads, struggling with off accomplice infantrymen, nation defense force, and their very own pro-Confederate friends. a neighborhood civil conflict ensued, with either side seeing the opposite as a hazard to legislations, order, and neighborhood itself. during this very own clash, either factions got here to dehumanize their enemies and use tools that surprised even professional infantrymen with their savagery. but if the conflict used to be over in 1865, every one faction sought to sanitize the prior and combine its tales into the nationwide myths later popularized concerning the Civil struggle. by way of arguing that the cause of picking out aspects had extra to do with neighborhood issues than with competing ideologies or social or political visions, Sarris provides a much-needed worry to the query of why males fought within the Civil War.

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Others reacted to the affront by transferring the wilderness image to the less advanced subregions further up in the mountains. The newer Appalachian frontier was represented by Fannin County, Georgia, Lumpkin’s neighbor to the northwest. Just north of Dahlonega, the Blue Ridge rises like a wall. Between that point and the state line, the terrain is rugged. Hills and mountains are broken intermittently by valleys, running streams, and wild river gorges. Much of this area is wilderness still, part of the Cohutta Wilderness Area and the Chattahoochee National Forest.

Some contemporary white observers concluded that the close interaction between whites and blacks indicated a comparatively benign slave system in the mountains. They contended that mountain slavery allowed blacks more autonomy and equality than was possible on the plantations of the Black Belt. ” 33 For decades, one of the myths of Appalachia portrayed white highlanders as racially enlightened despisers of black bondage and proponents of a rough sort of frontier racial equality. Frederick Law Olmsted, the early chronicler of Southern society who traveled though the mountains in 1854, painted a more complicated picture.

The mistress was too old to run the plantation herself, so she sold her plantation and its human property at a sheriff ’s auction. “My pa, my sister, an’ me wuz sold on the block,” Tom remembered. ” Even slaves who never endured the block themselves were always haunted by the fear of sale, a fear that intensified whenever they witnessed the public auction of other blacks. ” Other slaves recalled with bitterness how sexuality and economics converged on the block. One reported: “A buyer would walk up between the two rows and grab a woman and try to throw her down, and feel of her to see how she was put up.

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