Resting in the Confederacy

“It is well that war is so terrible, else we should grow too fond of it.”
— General Lee to General Longstreet

The Confederate battle flag hangs above the grave of Joseph E. Tuck in Rose Hill Cemetery in Kissimmee.  Tuck served in the 3rd Georgia Infantry from 1861 – 1865, and is one of many volunteer soldiers of the Confederacy buried in this beautiful, old Central Florida cemetery. Records list him as being placed on a “leave of indulgence” in 1864, and there are varied definitions of this term. Most likely, it means he returned home at that time while remaining enlisted in the volunteer ranks.

Each Veteran’s Day, as flags are placed on the graves of American soldiers, those who served in the Confederate Army are appropriately recognized by placement of the Confederate battle flag. Being raised in the South, I have wondered – though have admittedly never taken the time to research – what truly motivated a Confederate soldier to enlist? We have come to think of the Civil War has being a war only about slavery, though there were certainly other political and cultural factors that play into why it was fought and why people enlisted. Human behavior in general leads me to suppose – and I’m guessing history bears out the supposition – that many enlisted for reasons having nothing to do with slavery. I imagine that many enlisted simply because they wanted to protect what was theirs from Northern invasion, while others most certainly succumbed to peer pressure and enlisted out of perceived social duty. Surely, many who fought and died had not the means nor need to own slaves, but became caught up in the Zeitgeist of the undertaking and were sadly swept away.

"Resting in the Confederacy" [Click the image to enlarge/reduce its size.] Nikon D800, ISO 320, f/2.0 at 1/500 sec., 85 mm

“Resting in the Confederacy” [Click the image to enlarge/reduce its size.] Nikon D800, ISO 320, f/2.0 at 1/500 sec., 85 mm

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2 comments

  1. Just by pausing and genuinely thinking about that long-ago war with the insight that human beings fought on both sides, you have divined more about it than a hundred NEA (Northern Education Association 😉 )-approved history books written by a hundred tenured history professors.

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    1. Thank you, Carl. Since writing that post yesterday, I have learned about a very interesting local figure named Nelson Winbush, who – quite controversially – is proud of his grandfather’s role in the Black Confederacy and believes we should celebrate the Confederate battle flag as a legitimate part of black history. I find myself wanting to listen to him. Perhaps I shall have the opportunity.

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