Cherokee Loyalties

Southern
October 9, 1861
Date of Event: 
Wednesday, October 9, 1861
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The South’s Mighty Gamble On King Cotton

The highly lucrative cotton crop of 1860 emboldened the South to challenge the economic powerhouse of the North

In the mid- to late summer of 1860, billions of soft pink and white Gossypium hirsutum blooms broke out across South Carolina, Georgia, western Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas, soon to morph into puffy white bolls. Nearly 3 million black slaves fanned across this flowery inland sea. By season’s end in early winter, their harvest totaled the largest on record: with the seeds ginned out, a crop of 4 million 500-pound bales. Read more »

A Graceful Exit

In one momentous decision, Robert E. Lee spared the United States years of divisive violence

As April 1865 neared, an exhausted Abraham Lincoln met with his two top generals, Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman, to discuss the end of the Civil War, which finally seemed to be within reach. Nevertheless, the president—“having seen enough of the horrors of war”—remained deeply conflicted. To be sure, the endless sound of muddy boots tramping across City Point, Virginia, and the heavy ruts left by cannon wheels marked Grant’s preparations for a final all-out push to ensnare the Army of Northern Virginia. Yet Lincoln could not shake off his deep-seated fears that Robert E.Read more »

Was Jefferson Davis Captured In A Dress?

A story that the Confederate president donned a petticoat to evade capture emerged right after Union cavalrymen apprehended him in Georgia at war’s end. But is it true?

 On Sunday, May 14, 1865, Benjamin Brown French, commissioner of public buildings for the District of Columbia, left his home on Capitol Hill to buy a copy of the Daily Morning Chronicle. “When I came up from breakfast I went out and got the Chronicle,” he wrote in his journal, “and the first thing that met my eyes was ‘Capture of Jeff Davis’ in letters two inches long. Thank God we have got the arch traitor at last.” Read more »

The First To Secede

South Carolina severed ties with the Union not out of concern for states' rights but because of slavery

At 7 p.m. on Thursday, December 20, 1860, some 170 men marched through the streets of Charleston, South Carolina, walking from St. Andrews Hall to a new meetinghouse amid the cheers of onlookers. Half of them were more than 50 years old, most well-known. More than 60 percent were planters who owned at least 20 slaves. Five had been state governors, four U.S. senators. Read more »

General Lee’s Unsolved Problem

A southern writer analyzes the handicaps unwittingly laid on the general by President Davis

Long after the Civil War was over, with contemplative years for perspective, Jefferson Davis wrote that Robert E. Lee always commanded subject to his orders. The former Confederate president made quite a point of this overlordship, and held to the concept of Davis, the leader, manipulating armies and generals and the destinies of a people. Of course, Davis was right. As he made of the Confederate experiment a one-man show, technically he was Lee’s boss.Read more »

Unlocking History: Treasures Of Robert E. Lee Discovered

A Lee descendant finds two long-lost trunks full of family memorabilia in a Virginia bank vault

A Lee descendant finds two long-lost trunks full of family memorabilia in a Virginia bank vaultRead more »

Robert E. Lee’s “Severest Struggle”

New research shows that Lee's momentous decision to fight for the South was far from inevitable

One April afternoon in 1861, a proud man in his early fifties strode nervously across the portico of his home, too distracted to appreciate its sweeping view of the Potomac. He had an elegant military bearing and dark looks of a stage star, but on this day his genial face was shadowed by worry. His unsettled demeanor surprised several onlookers, accustomed to his normally composed nature.Read more »

The Last Rebel Ground

From Richmond to Appomattox Court House, roads unchanged for 140 years tell the story of the final days, the final hours of the Confederacy

It’s hardly more than the size of your bedroom, half of it living quarters, the rest the office. “What about a bathroom?” I ask National Parks Ranger Tracy Chernault.

 

It’s hardly more than the size of your bedroom, half of it living quarters, the rest the office. “What about a bathroom?” I ask National Parks Ranger Tracy Chernault. Read more »

The Deepest South

Five thousand miles below Mason-Dixon line, a Brazilian community celebrates its ties to antebellum America

 

I was expecting a dusty old museum or a weed-grown cemetery. Instead I have been dropped onto the set of Gone With The Wind . As I get out of my rental car in front of the old country compound the Campo, two other cars pull up, and out come seven teenage girls in white pink, and green hoop skirts and one young man in Confederate gray. Read more »