More on Southerners who relocated to the North and joined the Union army

Posted on November 17, 2010 by

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So, in the wake of Sunday’s post, I’ve been thinking. As I pointed out, the Mill Creek Baptist Church in Page County, Virginia split in 1805 over the issue of slavery. In the wake of that split, I’m curious about how many of the children of those people involved, who went to Ohio, ended up in the Union army. I haven’t researched that just yet. Still, as I pointed out, I’ve found others from the same county who ended up in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and West Virginia, and either joined the Union army or whose sons joined.

The first thing that strikes me is the question why these families relocated. Did all do so because of slavery? Well, I can’t say that for the family that moved deeper into Virginia, into the part that became West Virginia, but I think the question can be applied to those in the other three states. Secondly, if, for some it was the case… by the time of the war, could their motivation for serving in the Union army be, at least in part, due to their aversion to the institution of slavery. Now, I completely understand that that freeing the slaves was not on the agenda of the soldiers of the Union army were put in motion initially, but, on a personal level, I believe it can be said that feeling did exist. Consider, for example, some of those troops from Massachusetts (just one example) who were abolitionist in sentiment. I’m not saying that these Virginians were abolitionists as well, at least maybe not to the same level… but then, maybe some were. Still, they offer an unusual position for consideration. The families had moved from slave culture. Yet, they moved to areas where that culture no longer existed. Apart from not living in that environment, I can’t imagine that they shifted so dramatically from a Southern cultural existence.

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