Sister States, Enemy States: The Civil War in Kentucky and Tennessee

By Kent T. Dollar; Larry H. Whiteaker et al. | Go to book overview

“Battle against the traitors”
Unionist Middle Tennesseans in the Ninth
Kentucky Infantry and What They Fought For

Kenneth W. Noe

According to Richard Nelson Current, as many as 100,000 white Southerners from the seceded states fought in Union blue during the Civil War, fully a tenth of all white soldiers the Confederacy furnished. Nearly half of them, 42,000 men, came from East Tennessee. That region’s loyalty to the Union is familiar to students of the war, of course, while the Unionism of other mountain residents is routinely discussed, if often overstated. In contrast, despite welcome recent attention from scholars, the experiences of the South’s non-Appalachian Unionists remain greatly overshadowed by both the war fought by their highland comrades and especially the overwhelming popular memory of their Confederate neighbors.1 Among those neglected Southern Unionists are the Middle Tennesseans who served in the Ninth Regiment, Kentucky Volunteer Infantry. From its creation in November 1861 until its end three years later, roughly 1,070 men served in the Ninth Kentucky. Of the 425 soldiers whose home counties have been established, at least 184, 43 percent, were Middle Tennesseans.2 An examination of those Tennesseans in the Kentucky regiment and their motivations for going to war thus promises to illuminate the motives and experiences of non-Appalachian Southern Unionists in uniform further.

Moreover, consideration of these men promises to enrich a broader general debate about Civil War soldiers. Why did men join the armies? Why did they stay in the ranks? Why did they fight and not run from the battle line? Over the last two decades, several lively and important books

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