One Hundred and Fifty years ago today, October 3, 1861, my great great grandfather grabbed his musket and signed up with the "Dixie Boys" of Company "A" of the 26th Alabama Infantry Regiment in Tuscumbia, Alabama.
During the following 21 months he marched with the boys to some of the war's most famous battles.
"From the siege of Yorktown, April 5 to May 3, 1862, in which it took part, until the close of the war, the regiment was always in the battle front and won imperishable renown."
Captured at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863 he was neither slave owner or nor rich.
A farmer who was born in Laurens in the upstate of South Carolina. He raised sheep and cattle on land too poor to grow cotton with too little water to grow rice. They had no reason to own slaves rather his father had relied on 11 sons and 3 daughters. Yet when the call to arms went out he joined the cause without a second thought.
I suspect that the whole mess could have been resolved had the politicians worked things out in a civil manner and paid attention to the fact that the world around them was changing.
The abolitionists in 1861 found that slavery was a hot button in the North and used it as the rally cry to end a practice that was only 30 years from becoming out dated and inefficient as mechanized farming began to sweep across the nation.
Now 150 years later revisionists continue to create a war that was nothing more than an epic battle to free the black man from the abusive plantation owners. A battle where in the end good triumphed over evil.
As the line between fiction and fact continue to erode, there are those among us who are left to remind those less knowledgeable and more gullible that the war was not about slavery. In fact now to suggest that the war was about anything but slavery is considered politically incorrect.
The fact is the war of "northern aggression" came about because the Southern States no longer wanted to be apart of the Union. The reason for their departure was the erosion of states rights. By standing up to the inherently corrupt Northern Bullies the South threatened to upset the Union's balance of trade with Europe.
Southerners simply saw a federal government that had overstepped the bounds of sensibility and had infringed on state's rights and the right of self governance far too long.
I imagine that my grandfather saw the future of our Federal Government, a Federal Government much as it is today and he didn't like what he saw.
Cedar's Bonus: Out of 1,111 known members of the 26th Alabama; 360 are known to have died 32%, 93 finished the war in prison or on furlough after being released, 2 escaped from a prisoner of war camp, 10 joined U. S. service, 146 are known to have been discharged or resigned, 39 are known to have deserted and 387 have some partial records.
Amazingly there are two John Edmonds, John Edmonds and John A. Edmonds. Both enlisted in the 26th Alabama O'Neal's Infantry. They signed within days of each other and were both captured at Gettysburg. Cedar's Grandfather was the older of the two.
Details of the 26th Alabama's history is here.