Hello everyone! A few months ago, I did a post called Fact or Fiction//Which is More Important? Today, I want to turn this into an official Writing Series called Fact or Fiction? It will cover writing myths and history myths. Today, I’m going to tackle five common misconceptions about The War Between the States that I see popping up in most fiction books on the topic. Hope you enjoy!
Myth #1: All Southerners owned slaves/supported slavery.
This is not true and it makes me want to laugh every time I see this pop up. While a book may not come right out and say this, it’s insinuated in popular fiction that all Southerners own slavery. My ancestors are proof this is untrue. In fact, studies show that only about 25% of the Southern population in 1860 owned slaves. (For more statistics on this study, read The South Was Right! and Lincoln Unmasked)
And all southerners did not support slavery, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson are prime examples of Southerners who hated the institution. And I’d also like to point out that the Underground Railroad couldn’t have existed without Southern abolitionists. Let’s say you are helping a slave form Florida escape to Canada. You cannot magically jump over the slave holding states (which included Maryland, Delaware, Missouri and Ohio, to name a few). You must come through several of these states to get to Canada. You must have food and shelter to make a trip (on foot or hiding in a wagon), and it’s dangerous. There is no way they could have gotten to Canada without help. North Carolina was one of the most active states in the Underground Railroad. So it is ludicrous to assume all southerners were at least supportive of slavery.
Myth #2: Southern soldiers, on average, could not read.
While both the Union and Confederate States had a large population of illiterate people, it’s silly to write a story where none of the Confederates know how to read. It’s insulting. If I’m not mistaken, The South Was Right! covers this claim as well. I read one study that showed that most Southern soldiers could read to some extent. Christ in the Camp makes this fact clear in the large amounts of tracts, pamphlets, books and Bibles they gave to eager southern soldiers. So, while it’s fine to have a grown soldier here and there who can’t read, or one who can’t read well, it’s way over used. Drummers are another matter, as there were a lot of street kids or orphans who had never been to school filling those spots.
Myth #3: The South fought to preserve slavery.
I am fighting not to roll my eyes at this one. It is in almost every book you read about the War Between the States and it is the biggest fallacy of them all. I’ll give you the nut shell of why the South fought, but if you want to read more on this topic, see these posts (Here, here, here and here.) The south would not have fought to preserve slavery. That would have been ridiculous. No woman in her right mind would send her man to war just so she could force another person to work for her. (Okay, so the women didn't literally send their men off to war, but you know what I mean, lol!) That’s insane. The reason the South fought the War Between the States is because their states’ rights were being taken away from them. The government passed taxes that hurt the south to aide the north. I’m not being biased, I’m stating facts. The government had enlarged it’s self past it’s Constitutional boundaries and had made it quite clear that it didn’t care who they had to step on to grab more power…sound familiar? Seems like there was a man named Kind George III who had that same ambition. I don’t care what side you take on the war in your novel. But I do care if it’s historically inaccurate. Even if you choose to ignore these facts, don’t have your southern antagonist citing slavery as his reason to fight. Read what the southern soldiers said they were fighting for. Slavery will not be one of their reasons.
Myth #4: The Emancipation Proclamation freed the Slaves.
Another common misconception, and it mostly stems from the fact that most people have never actually read the proclamation. I strongly encourage you to read it and not just take someone else’s word for it, no matter what angle they take on it, myself included. But basically, the EP was written to keep England and France, who had already outlawed slavery in their countries, from aiding the Confederacy and recognizing us as a nation. In the latter end, they succeeded, but the British and French did help us monetarily and materially, though not to the capacity they would have if not for the EP. The EP states that all slaves held in the seceded states are free, except those who lived in Union held territory. The hypocrisy here is that those are the only slaves he had the power to free, since they were in territory he had conquered. So where is their right to freedom from the “Champion of Abolition?” The shocking truth is that he didn’t care about the ones he could actually help; he just wanted to look good to Europe. He had no jurisdiction over the seceded states as a whole, since they were a separate country, so his proclamation did absolutely nothing. Also, he said, if the states would rejoin the Union by January 1st of 1863, they could keep their slaves. If the war was over slavery, every single state would have jumped at the chance to be back in their beloved former country. But not one took him up on the offer, proving not only that the South was not fighting to keep their slaves, but also that the Union was not fighting to free them.
Myth #5: All the Southern women wore hoop skirts.
I had to slip a fun one in here! 😉 So, yeah, this one’s not true either! Hoop skirts were very impractical for daily life in the south. They are bulky and let’s be honest, you can’t tend your garden like that, lol! The majority of southern woman were middle class and did the cooking, cleaning, gardening and often times helped in the fields as well. If she owned a hoop skirt, she would have worn it to church, weddings and socials. If I had lived during this time, I probably wouldn’t have even owned one. In my books, my main girl character Dixie is from a middle-class cotton plantation family. And she doesn’t own a hoop skirt. Why? Because she lives in the country. There is no where for her to wear one too. In fact, when up in Philadelphia for Christmas, she must borrow one from her cousins for a social. This wasn’t uncommon. Not everyone lived in Raleigh, Richmond and Atlanta. That’s what most people think of when they imagine life in the Antebellum South. Sorry to burst your bubble on that one, lol!
So that’s it for this first post on Fact or Fiction! I hope you enjoyed it!
Have a blessed day!
Hello friends! Welcome back to another 10 Totally Random Facts post! In Honor of My dear Stonewall Jackson’s final victory, this month we are looking at 10 Totally Random Facts about the Battle of Chancellorsville. *sobs* Let’s see if I can get through this…
And now…an excerpt from “The Rivers of Sorrow”!!!
From Chapter 8: A Place Called Chancellorsville
“No talking whatsoever, don’t load your rifles and if you straggle, you’re getting a bayonet prod! Got it?”
“Yes, sir.” Richard was convinced his soldiers weren’t going to give him any problems. Seth glanced over his squad and was pleased to see them moving briskly, preparing to march.
The gray mist of dawn hung in the air. Seth shivered, partly from the cool morning, partly from anticipation of battle. Maybe they would whip the Yankees for good this time!
Richard trotted past his brother. “32:7-8!” he called to Seth. Seth saluted and grinned at his older brother. The camp verse flashed through his mind. ‘Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him: With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles…’
The 2nd Corps was soon on the march. Jackson’s men filed by in silence. No one was talking; all that could be heard was a muffled tramp, tramp, tramp of soldiers’ feet and the gentle clank of their gear.
Jackson allowed a smile to take to the corners of his lips. These were soldiers; real men. Veterans. Fearless. Hard-core men of war. They would take on anybody. They would follow only those whom they trusted and believed in. They were an Army. They were the best army the world had ever seen. They were men fighting for a cause with all their heart.
Lord, please give Thy divine guidance in this attack. It is only by Thy ever kind Providence that we can even hope to be successful...
Later that evening, the long column halted. They were tired, having just made a 12-mile trek, with only one water stop and no food stops. Part of the column had skirmished with Hooker’s men. Now the Yankees thought the Southerners were withdrawing from the area.
At 5:15 p.m., the attack began. There was only two hours of day light left, when C.S. Brig. Gen. Rodes was ordered to deploy his brigade. Raleigh Colston, Brigadier General, was right behind him.
Richard fell in step with Gen. Jackson and his aides. Champion tensed underneath Richard. He wanted to run; he always wanted to run. Richard patted him on the shoulder. It wouldn’t be long and he would be doing just that.
Excitement mounted inside Richard. Yes, they at last would push Hooker all the way across the river and personally escort them to Washington!
Meanwhile in the Yankee camp, the inexperienced German soldiers of the 11th Corps were talking and laughing while preparing their supper. They listened to music being played in a nearby pine grove.
A young drummer returned to the circle, carrying a bucket of water for a stew that was being made. The soldiers patted him on the back, thanking him for running the errand and promising him the first bowl of stew.
The boy turned to jot a letter to his mother while waiting on his food. He frowned; the ground under him vibrated. He gasped as a deer plowed through the camp, nearly tramping over him in the process.
“Hey, someone shoot some more meat for supper!”
“I’ve never seen so many rabbits or foxes in my life!”
“What I wouldn’t give for that deer there!”
The men laughed at the spectacle, casually wondering what had caused the animals to flee right through their camp.
The soldiers jumped and glanced at the knoll beyond them. There, cresting the hill above them was a line a mile long of Confederate soldiers!
“Get your guns!”
Orders were screamed to each other in a crazy mix of English and German. Everyone ran. Behind them, Confederates advanced.
Richard trotted along next to his commander’s column, waiting for orders and watching for any possible threat on Gen. Jackson’s life. Wounded soldiers still posed a threat and he constantly scanned the camp for such perils.
The Yankees gave up ground rapidly. Oh, they stopped and tried to hold the Confederates back, but their efforts were futile.
 He will finish as a Major General.
 Confederate Brigadier General, known for his hand in the Battle of Chancellorsville.
Until Next Time,
I can hardly believe it’s time for Part 3 of this series! (Click here for part 1 and part 2!) I’m so excited to share the books that helped me so much with my Battle for Heritage Series! If I can help even one author or History Buff in their search for answers, it will be worth it! So, without further ado, let’s jump in!
1.Will at the Battle of Gettysburg by Laurie Calkhoven ©2011 by the author, Dutton Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group.
Okay, so this isn’t a history. In fact, it is a children’s middle-grade fiction novel. But, hear me out 😉 This story is told in the perspective of Will, a 12-year-old Gettysburg native. Though this book is strongly biased and claims the South fought to keep their slaves, which is false, this book is eye-opening as to what civilians went through during the fighting, what it was like for a little boy to see war, and the confusing feeling of pity for the enemy. And of course Abel is my favorite character, a young Confederate, who, surprisingly given the stance of the author, educates Will on why the South is actually fighting. This is well worth reading. I made minor edits to my copy for historical inaccuracies (regarding the cause of the war) and a few minor swear words. Please proof it before handing it to a child under 10.
2.Gettysburg: The Confederate High Tide by Time Life Books ©1985 (again, my copy isn’t down, so I’m not sure of the specifics.)
This book for the most part focuses on the facts of the battle rather than the cause of the war, so it’s a pretty safe read. Very informative and a recommended read. There are a few words to mark out, due to historical quotes. In general, this is a good book on the history of the Battle of Gettysburg. Recommended for ages 16+ for understanding.
3.To Die in Chicago by George Levy ©1999 by the author. Pelican Publishing Company, Inc., 1999, Second Printing
This is not a book for Children. I highly recommend an adult read this book first if you plan to hand it over to someone younger than 16. Ever wondered what it could be like if America had concentration camps? Welcome to Camp Douglas. If anyone ever tries to tell you how terrible Andersonville in Georgia was (which was caused by tight spaces and national food shortages, not to mention the Union’s halt of prisoner exchange), remind them of Camp Douglas. Some of the worst War Crimes committed by the Union happened here in the systematic starvation, torture and degradation of Southern POWs. Recently, people have been talking about the confinement of Japanese Americans during WWII, referring to the camps as concentration camps. While there is no question that everything wasn’t up to scratch, it is disrespectful to Holocaust survivors and Confederate POWs to compare their comparative paradise with the genocide committed by the Nazis and Union soldiers. I’m sure either group would have gladly switched places. I am by no means trying to down play any wrong that may have been committed against our country’s citizens. I’m just saying that there are some unfair historical cover ups going on. I personally think this book should be read by 18+, given the sensitive subject matter.
4.Reccolections and Letters of Robert E. Lee compiled by Capt. Robert E. Lee Jr., C.S.A. (public domain) First published 1904. Mine is a Dover 2007 edition.
I’ve mentioned this book in a previous post, so I won’t spend too much time on it here, but this book is so good! Who better to write a book about the South’s beloved Marse Robert than himself and his son? A mixture of commentary from Rob and letters, journals and orders from Gen. Lee make this a must for every student of War Between the States History! Recommended for 14+ for understanding.
5.Civil War Period Cookery compiled by Robert W. Pelton ©2003 by the author. Infinity publishing, 2012 edition
This book is chock full of fun information about the food and drinks of days gone by. (Warning: some recipes call for alcoholic beverages, which I DO NOT condone. These are removed from my recipes.) Ever wondered what the bread of choice was from Stonewall’s army? How about the chicken and gravy Gen. Mosby grew up on? How about Clara Barton’s Mint Lemonade? Southerners and Northerners will be delighted by the storehouse of insider information about these famous family recipes and biographical sketches about the cooks and the eaters! I love this book and hope to cook from it soon. Though I probably will steer clear of U.S. Grant’s family recipe for laxative bread…
Well, that’s all for now! Thank you so much for stopping by today!
Hello and here we go again with another bookish post! Today, I’m bringing you five more research books that were super useful to me while writing The Battle for Heritage Series! I hope you enjoy it! (Click here to read part 1!)
1. The South Was Right! By James and Walter Kennedy ©1991, 1994 by the Authors. 5th Edition, October 1996, Pelican Publishing Company, Inc., 1994
Don’t let the title frighten you! (I personally love it!) This book is not a bash against the people of the north, but rather a cultural, political and historical study of the South, from before the Revolution to the Reconstruction. It busts some of the myths about American Slavery, Abraham Lincoln and the 1800s Government as well as explaining where the Southern culture comes from. It covers race relationships in the South, war crimes and some problems that were handed down to us by our forefathers. 5 stars all the way! This book is cited in my book, Our Heritage to Save, and inspired a scene in my current WIP (Work in Progress), A Song of Home. Because this is a history book, there are some grim facts inside. Thus, I recommend this for readers 18+.
2.Stonewall Jackson by Charles Ludwig ©1989 by Mott Media
This was the first biography (and only biography!) I read about Stonewall Jackson (I have three on my to be read list). This book was amazing and gave me a great introduction to this American Hero’s life. Knowing about his family, how he met Anna, and about his conversion gave me more insight when I tried to portray him in my books. Another 5-star read. Recommended for ages 8 and up! (I was in high school when I read this)
3.The Blue and the Gray compiled by Henry Steele Commager ©1950 by the Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc.
This book is another compilation of soldiers’ letters, stories, and journal entries. I specifically used this book to research military punishments and treatment of prisoners in the Union Prison Camps. It wasn’t delightful reading, as such things are always sad, but this book is amazing! It gives song histories, little known stories of the war and a wonderful first-hand account of what it was like to live then, told by those who did. We’ve all heard of the Rebel Yell, but have you heard of the Yankee Yell? I hadn’t! But it was a real thing and is still used today…just not in the same way! Check out this book for the story, told by a southern soldier about his first encounter with the yell, what it sounded like and what he and his fellows thought of it. Very Interesting stuff. Because of potential language (I don’t remember any, but there may have been a word here and there I marked out), I would recommend this book for adults and older teens. Pre-teens will enjoy it if it has been edited.
4.Confederate Black Ops by Charles L. Tilton II ©2015 by the author, 1st Edition! Published by Blacksmith LLC, Fayetteville, N.C.
Oh…wow! This book was so good. I need to reread it! This book is written by an Army special ops guy, so he knows what he is talking about. This book covers so much about espionage and the techniques that the Southern forces utilized that are still used today! There were a couple things I marked out, but an older person could quickly fix this up for a young person to enjoy. If you are interested in learning more about the kinds of things certain of my characters might have gotten into, read this book. That being said, there are a few things in the book I disagree with, namely some of the things said about John Wilkes Booth and an assumption that a member of Lincoln’s cabinet was actually a Southern operative. I personally think there are a lot of holes in that argument, due to other research I have done. But please, read the book and draw your own conclusions. I am not an expert, lol! 😉
5. Christ in the Camp by J. William Jones © 1887, by B.F. Johnson & Co., © 1904 by The Martin & Hoyt Co. (I got mine from Vision Forum)
This was the second nonfiction book that I read about the War Between the States. I got this for my…14th birthday? Yes, 14th. It was soooo good, and at the time, it was the longest book I had ever read (400+!). This book was written by Robert E. Lee’s chaplain, a Baptist, who documented the revival that took place from 1862-1865. This was the last region-wide revival that took place in America and was solely located in the Southern Armies and surrounding towns. Unfortunately, it did not spread through the Federal armies, though if it had, I think more people would have been willing to take the war back to the table where it belonged.
Where was I…?
Anyway, this book is so good for those researching the spiritual ramifications of the War Between the states, regardless of where your loyalty lies. Honestly, this book isn’t even about the cause of the war; it barely mentions it maybe…twice? I can actually only think of one place where I read it, but I’m adding another, just to be on the safe side. It’s been a few years since I’ve read this book. Anyway, whether you are from the south or from the north, or not from America at all, this is a lovely study on the Hand of God in our Nations’ history. Fun Fact: Did you know that more Baptists fought in the Confederate Army than any other denomination? I didn’t until I read this book! It’s full of fun tidbits and heartwarming testimonies to the Power of God in War. Highly recommended. I would say High School and up for understanding, but there is nothing bad in this book 😉
So, those are my top Research Books for this post! Have you read any of these?
Have a Blessed Week!
Good morning, afternoon or evening, where ever you are and whenever you’re reading this! I’m thrilled to have you back here at Life of Heritage Corner! This post was originally supposed to be put up next month, but on a whim, I decided to do it now. It has been requested that I share some of the books that I get my information from, specifically for my series, The Battle for Heritage, set during the War Between the States. 📚 So today, I’m going to share 6 of the books that really helped me get my series together, specifically for The Land of Cotton!
Very early on in my work, a dear man gave me over a dozen books from his personal collection. These books have helped me a lot! In fact, three of them made this list! So, here are my top six research books.📝
1. The Civil War by Bruce Caton ©1988 by American Heritage Inc. edition.
Now, I disagree with Mr. Caton on his view of the War Between the States, but the main thing I used this book for (which was very well researched; he’s known as the Civil War Authority of his day) was the special bonuses at the end of the book. Part 1 is a Chronology of the Civil War, dividing the events up by year, month and day. I relied heavily on this while plotting my series and still refer to it constantly. Part II is the Index to the Chronology. This listed all the battles alphabetically, then in small print listed the month, day and year it took place, so you could look it up in the chronology. Very helpful! Part III is The Leading Participants. Alphabetically, the political and military leaders of both sides are listed, with a paragraph telling who they are, what they did in the war, when they did it, if they were wounded and when, what battles they fought in, what command position they held and when, and when they died (if applicable). It is a gold mine! To be honest, I’ve yet to actually read the book…I’ve only used the bonus indexes!😆
2. The Time-Life History of the Civil War (I don’t have my copy down right now, so I’m not sure what edition it is, but click here to see it.)
I read parts of this book, depending on what battle I was currently working on. It gave quotes from soldiers as well as times and places when things happened. But mostly, I used it for the pictures. There were drawings✏, photos📸 , and paintings🖌, some more modern and some made during the war. I used these for inspiration for characters, activities and battle sequences.
3. A Civil War Treasury of Tales, Legends and Folklore, Edited, with an Introduction by B.A. Botkin ©1960 by B.A. Botkin, 1993 Promontory Press Edition
Warning: It does need some editing…there are a few bad words and a few stories that need to be taken out!
This book is exactly what it sounds like, Tales, legends, folklore, letters and journals written by the people who actually experienced the war! Now, the title insinuates that not everything in the book is 100% accurate, which is true, but there really isn’t a lot of “Tall-Tales”. Most of the content is history written down by the multiple authors. You get a great look at what the men fought for, what camp life was like, what it was like back home and what was going on in the officers and politicians’ heads. There are news articles as well. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in the time period, the language and the mindset of the people. You hear from both the famous and the unheard of, and that’s one of the reasons I enjoy it!
4. Beloved Bride by Bill Potter ©2002-2012 by Vision Forum (Read a full review here!)
This book is beautiful! 😍 It’s one of the books that made me fall in love with General Stonewall Jackson. And yes, most of what I wrote about Stonewall came from reading this book (his dialogue is based off his actual patterns of speech, things he really said and the way he responded to situations.) It’s one of my very favorite non-fictions! Read it, just go read it! ❤
5. A Pocket History of the Civil War by Martin F. Graham ©2011 by Martin F. Graham Osprey Publishing Edition
Oh, wow! I found this book at Ollie’s on sale and it was truly my pocket guide! Again, I didn’t agree with this author’s take on the war, but I found for the most part, it seemed pretty neutral. The statistics were very helpful as well as the breakdown of how to load a rifle. If you read The Land of Cotton, the scene where the boys are going through the process of joining up and the scene where one of the boys is loading his gun, both came from this book. It’s a very comprehensive guide. I also got a lot of information for my Soldier Life // Privates post from this book! Definitely a book to pick up if you are writing about the War Between the States or if you want a little more than a basic overview of the war. My only hang up with this story is that they say the only reason the South went to war was over slavery, which wasn’t a reason at all. Otherwise, I can’t think of anything…
6.The Civil War for Kids by Janis Herbert ©1999 by Janis Herbert, Chicago Review Press 1st Edition
This book gave me the idea to include loading the rifle in my book, though I used #5 to get a clearer understanding. It also inspired me to include espionage in my book. Even though it’s biased for the Union, you’ll find it jammed packed with information and activities. 📒There’s also fun bonus facts about the war, like what names of places mean, who named what battles, biography sketches, etc. If you’ve read Our Heritage to Save, you may remember the scene where Titus dives into the breakdown of the army’s companies, regiments, etc. I got all that from this book. I highly recommend it!
So that’s it for now! Hope this has given you something to springboard off of. In the future I hope to tell you about some of my Confederate resources, more histories and even some documentaries that help me! If you have any questions about these books, please let me know and someone from my team (aka me or my family!) will answer them for you!
The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.
II Timothy 4:12
(King James Bible)
Until Next Time,
*Emoji provided by Emoji One
Christian. American. Southern. Author.