Imagined “memory” vs. Realized/actual memory

Posted on August 18, 2010 by


Somewhere in my diminished amount of free time lately, I’ve spent some time investigating the realized/actual memory of Southerners at the time of WW1 and even during the Spanish-American War, and all I can say at this point is that it baffles me when it comes to some, today, who suggest that their comments/”position” are/is reflective of some sort of continuing legacy of ill feeling to the “Union” beyond the Civil War. Sure, there may have been some/a few with lingering animosity, but the voice… you might say, the official voice of Confederate veterans… isn’t in harmony with this contemporary “imagined memory” of how Confederate veterans, and Southerners in general felt some 53… even only 40 years after the war. The enthusiasm to prove their loyalty under the US flag during the two wars says something altogether different. All that one has to do is look in old issues of Confederate Veteran magazine… old minutes from veteran conventions from the time… to realize that their modern “imagined memory” may not be in harmony with their ancestry in years beyond the war of 61-65. I’d also encourage reading Gaines M. Foster’s Ghosts of the Confederacy: Defeat, the Lost Cause, and the Emergence of the New South (1987). In an upcoming post, I’ll include a bit about what Foster said about those who felt themselves amongst “oppressed Southerners” in the postwar South and how their cries against fighting under the flag of the old adversary stacked up against the voices of many Confederate veterans.