Hey there reader, I hope you’re having a great day. I started a new book this week, The Civil War by Bruce Catton. This is probably the Civil War history book your parents read when they were kids.
Catton doesn’t dance around the reasons for the war, like tariffs or states’ rights. On the first page Catton wrote by the election of 1860, America had become 2 divergent societies, one based on industry, commerce and free wage labor the other based on agriculture and slavery. Catton wrote slavery was the reason the south seceded from the Union and the impetus of the Civil War. And I agree.
Something I learned from the Catton was how Union state governors met quotas for Army recruits. As long as the state governor met the quota set by the War Department, soldiers wouldn’t be conscripted as they were in the Confederacy. But in the end, the Union ended up drafting recruits into the Army anyway.
Also, I learned how the Confederacy wasn’t a complete monolith of slavery. For example, several counties throughout the Confederacy didn’t fully subscribe to the secession: they remained loyal to the Union given they owned fewer slaves than other more affluent counties. Highland counties, like counties of western Virginia seceded from Virginia 1862 to form the state of West Virginia in 1863. Scott County, TN, Winston County, AL, Jones County, MS, Searcy County, AR and the Hill Country in TX for the most part supported the Union during the Civil War.
This book is outstanding, I can’t put it down. Ken Burns was a Catton fan, his Civil War documentary seems to follow Catton’s format. Everybody should read this book for a basic understanding of how the Union triumphed during the Civil War and why the Confederacy seceded from the Union.