Plain Folk's Fight: The Civil War and Reconstruction in Piney Woods Georgia

Plain Folk's Fight: The Civil War and Reconstruction in Piney Woods Georgia

Plain Folk's Fight: The Civil War and Reconstruction in Piney Woods Georgia

Plain Folk's Fight: The Civil War and Reconstruction in Piney Woods Georgia

Excerpt

This book explores the rural world of white Southern plain folk during the Civil War and Reconstruction in piney woods Georgia. Rather than blindly follow the dictates of class consciousness or the planter elite, a majority of the plain folk chose to secede from the Union, support the Confederacy, and fight again in the postwar era for what they determined to be their own self-interest. Although they lacked the material possessions of their wealthier planter and professional neighbors, they were prideful people. They believed that they could hold their own against the world despite the absence of railroads, the telegraph, towns of significant size, or a manufacturing base in their region. They were wrong. Four years of war left them beaten and humbled but determined to regain control of their neighborhoods through whatever means were necessary, including violence and political terrorism.

Presenting the plain folk's voice is problematic. This large and inarticulate mass of common people left few private papers that have survived. I have nevertheless attempted to reconstruct their world and give them a voice based on the sources available. I maintain that it is a story worth telling, despite arguments that another Civil War book is one of the last things Southern history needs. What happened to the wiregrass plain folk fills a gap in Civil War historiography, although the . . .

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