. . . The new states of the West are already inhabited, but society has no existence among them." By 1860, the area had been settled much more like the frontier than either the established plantation society of the South or the emerging urban industrial areas of the North. Writing in 2004, James Webb characterizes Appalachian people then and now as "the kind of people who would die in place rather than retreat," whatever their situation.
In their collection of essays on the impact of the Civil War in southern Appalachia, Inscoe and McKinney cite Confederate and Union hopes of exploiting the region for military victory a miscalculation all around. On one hand many people in the region tried to ignore and avoid (and desert from) the war altogether. On the other, opposition partisanship that was in evidence in 1860 hardened over the course of the war, with the result that the "highlanders" on the home front "experienced the war far removed from any front lines." In North Carolina, say Inscoe and McKinney, "the war was in many respects experienced with more intensity in the mountains than elsewhere in the state." Highlander families, like other families North and South, were sometimes divided from within. One noteworthy pocket of Confederate sympathizers in the area consisted of the indigenous Cherokee people, who were bitter because so many of their ancestors had been forced onto the infamous Trail of Tears and into Oklahoma Territory by the U.S. government's massive relocation project in the 1830s.
The independent turn of mind of the white highlanders, resisting ardent abolitionism on one hand and ardent pro-slavery sentiment on the other, would help explain why yeoman farmers of the Appalachian region were lukewarm about fighting for North or South when the Civil War came. Many literally took to the hills and became either partisan guerrillas or opportunistic renegades. Mind-set and the cultural ethos of Appalachia explain, to...
The Women During the Civil War. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 23:35, May 06, 2015, from http://www.collegetermpapers.com/viewpaper/1303918945.html