"I am guessing that most viewers knew little to nothing about unionism in Mississippi during the war before watching Burns." Indeed. I suppose one reason is that the Jones County Unionists were not part of the Union Army. I've only seen the Doc as shown on British TV, which I suspect left parts out: but SFAIK there was nothing about the interesting case of the Tejano Unionists in Texas, which leads into the articulation of the ACW and the war in Mexico. But maybe it was covered in episodes shown only in the US.

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May 10, 2022·edited May 10, 2022

This is excellent. Will the series possibly be combined into an article for *The Civil War Monitor*?

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Thanks for the analysis, Kevin. I've always been impressed with the Burns' series--given the number of hours available to him, he did manage to include coverage of the home front (my favorite aspect of the Civil War, and most other American wars), but did so selectively, of course. He also treated the political aspects of the conflict, not to mention the--duh!--important battles, and the guy could not cover everything!

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I did rather like what Burns did with those two communities.

“What remained of the 49th and 14th Tennessee Regiments came home. One of my great-great grandfathers on my mother’s side was a chaplain in the 49th. He lost a brother at the Gin House at Franklin. All the time I was a kid I heard from my grandmother what a great man he was. I saw photos of him and read a typed copy of his war memoirs.

When I grew up I considered writing an annotated version of all of his writings on the Civil War. He’d been a prolific author for “Confederate Veteran,” so much so that when he died in 1922 they put his photo on the cover, so there was lots to work with. But when I started really reading what he wrote, I lost all taste for it. He remained an unreconstructed rebel all his life, defending the “Lost Cause” and defending slavery. He complained that the “Yankees” “stole” all of his family's slaves except for a little girl and an old woman. I suspect they ran off to freedom as soon as the Union troops got near. He denied as Yankee propaganda stories about families of the enslaved being separated by their owners, then a few pages later described doing exactly that when his family gave away a little enslaved girl as a gift to a young woman! His stories about the Black servants in his unit’s camp make it clear that these men were not seen as fellow soldiers, but as cowardly clowns there for the convenience of their masters.

Finally, there was his courtship of his wife-to-be. She was a girl not quite in her teens when he met her on a family friend’s plantation in Kentucky. He told her then he was going to marry her. She was apx 11 and he was about 21 or so. He wrote her all throughout the war. She never answered. (Hey buddy, take a clue. Maybe she’s not that into you!) When the war was over he returned to her, complaining that he’d not heard from her the entire war! (Again, dude, take a hint! Find someone your own age). She was old enough to get married then (barely) and they did become husband and wife.

So that was the “honorable” man I heard about from the Southern half of my family all my life. Oddly, it wasn’t until my paternal grandmother was near the end of her life that I learned that my Dad’s family from Indiana had contributed several soldiers to the Union army. One, an artilleryman, died at Perryville. My grandmother gave me the photo her favorite uncle had taken showing off his nice new uniform. That photo I treasure, and it was, to me at least, an interesting example of how the different groups tended to remember the war: The Lost Cause, for which the memory still seemed fresh, vs. being an interesting bit of family history but not central to the family story.

Sorry for the long post. I kind of got rolling there.

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