I read with interest the Proclamation signed by Union County Commissioner, Honorable Lamar Paris, designating the whole month of April as Confederate History and Heritage Month. Coupled with the Confederate Memorial Day April 26 throughout Georgia and other Southern States, the joint emphases are geared toward learning more about and understanding events of The War Between the States (known as the Civil War) and their far-reaching effects upon our history.
The conflict began in April, 1861 with shots fired upon Ft. Sumter in Charleston Harbor and ended in April, 1865 with the treaty signed at Appomattox Court House. Within the intensive four-year period, the face of America and its people changed. Volumes have been written and hundreds of films produced to try to get at the heart of the conflict. As I consider writing about the war from the perspective of Union County, I feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the subject, even before I begin.
Many see slavery as the major cause of the War Between the States. Although that institution played a part in secession, there were deeper underlying differences in ideologies and culture. The mainly agrarian South was pitted against a strongly industrial North. If slavery had been the issue in Union County, Georgia, it would have been miniscule. According to the 1850 listing of slaveholders in the county, twenty-four citizens owned 100 slaves. Disregarding the issue of slavery, those from Union County who fought for the Confederacy did so because of loyalty to a region and to the state of Georgia.
For interesting details and a listing of soldiers from Union County by regiments, I recommend that you find copies of these resources and read them: “The Civil War,” pages 29-60 in Sketches of Union County History, Volume 2, by Jan H. Devereaux and Bryan Webb, 1978; “The Civil War in Union County,” pages 41-56 in Mountain Relic, Spring Edition, 1980; and “The Story of Two Soldiers,” pages 35-36 in Sketches of Union County History III, edited by Teddy J. Oliver, 1987. Numerous resources are available online such as Muster Rolls by Companies, Regiments and Counties in Georgia. It takes patience to access and read them, but the effort is worthwhile for those desiring a listing of men who served from Union County.
Union County’s stately War Memorial lists the names of ninety-one men who lost their lives fighting for the Confederacy and three who died while serving in the Union Army. These ninety-four casualties from the War Between the States comprise a larger number than the combined total of casualties from all other wars listed. A Confederate memorial service is planned to begin on Saturday, April 23 at 11:00 a. m. at the Old City Cemetery in Blairsville and then move to the War Memorial. The David W. Payne Camp 1633 of Sons of Confederate Veterans will lead the service commemorating the men who gave their lives for the South.
The words of poet Sir Walter Scott are appropriate as we remember the sacrifices of fallen soldiers:
“Soldier, rest! Thy warfare o’er,
Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking,
Dream of battlefields no more,
Days of danger, nights of waking.”
“All gave some; some gave all.” May they rest in peace.
c2005 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Apr. 21, 2005 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.