From the News: Civil War buffs enlist to publish records
I'll be spending some time in the near future expressing my thoughts on my relatives who served in the Civil War. It has been enlightening to do so because they all served in the Confederacy--a position that my grade school education didn't prepare me to understand. The state I live in is in the mid-Atlantic region, which means we're neither comfortably North or South. The viewpoint we were taught on the Civil War wasn't a grandiose Southern pride, or a staunch anti-slavery, pro-Union rhetoric against the heathen South. The situation wasn't as simple as that, and that was never so clear to me as when I realized that my fiance's ancestors fought for the Union side. Our families were enemies at one point, but were removed by enough states that they probably never knew each other.
Those stories have instilled a compassion in me that make for an interesting conflict to my loyalties. It's worth exploring though because like it or not, it's my history. I was born of the men and women who fought in that war, and my experiences have taught me that I can't just neatly label the Confederacy as "the Losing Side" and move on with my life. In that way, I'm grateful for my kinship.
To be challenged to see the good in a losing man's fight is pretty much the story of my family--men trying to stand up for what they believe in, even when they're wrong about many things. To see through their eyes is to understand their struggle. To understand their struggle is to re-write the history which is too neatly told about the Civil War.