In the process of researching and writing my thesis, one of my friends couldn’t see the big deal about “reluctant Confederates.” He saw no difference between reluctance in WW2 soldiers and those from the South during the Civil War. His grandfather didn’t want to fight in WW2, but he was drafted, served, and came home. So, what’s the difference between him and someone from the South who didn’t want to fight for the Confederacy in the Civil War?
I saw it from the perspective of nationalistic identity. At the time of WW2, or even WW1, one may not necessarily agree with the war, but many were generations-in as Americans. There was a difference with Southerners at the at the time of the Civil War. The Confederacy was new, but that didn’t mean that all who lived in the South endorsed it and most especially, it did not mean that they wanted to fight for it. Southerners may have identified themselves as Southerners and even as, say, Virginians (or whatever the case according to their state of residence), but not all who identified themselves as one or both of those identified themselves as Confederate. Of course, this leads to another topic… that being the different levels of reluctance… and therefore, another post.