Calvin Zon Speaks on his new book "Divided We Fall:The Confederacy's Collapse From Within"

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Calvin Goddard Zon speaks to the Civil War Round Table of the District of Columbia on June 9, 2015, at the Fort McNair Officers' Club in Washington D.C.  Questions and answers follow the presentation.



About Our Topic:  Many have the impression that the North and South had solid support from within their respective states but nothing is further from the truth. The North was full of Copperheads, Radical Republicans, pro-war Democrats, abolitionists, and newspapers that were all divided on the issues of secession and emancipation.  And the Confederacy had its own problems and that is what we will explore in this meeting.

Our speaker, Calvin Goddard Zon, will explore each Confederate state’s opposition and its source. Opposition came from different factors including dissatisfaction with the strong central government, the draft, and even loyalty to the Union. How this opposition was expressed also varied from state to state. The Carolinas were plagued by opposition to conscription with many seeing it as a violation of states’ rights.  By 1863, there were bands of deserters and draft dodgers in the Appalachians that were raiding Confederate holdings in the Carolinas and attacking conscription officials.

Mississippi saw the creation of the Free State of Jones in protest to the draft and seizure of private property by the Confederacy. Jackson County Alabama went so far as to secede from the Confederacy and proclaim loyalty to the Union. Georgia’s governor help back thousands of men from the fighting because he deemed them critical to keeping Georgia’s government functioning.  Unionists in Georgia actually met in February 1865 to demand the Confederacy’s surrender.  Texas’ own Sam Houston opposed secession and refused to take the oath of allegiance to the Confederate States of America. As a result, he was summarily deposed as its governor in early 1861.

Most of this opposition was met with force--hanging, imprisonment and banishment were common punishments for those opposing the Confederacy.  But the opposition forced the Confederates to fight two wars--a war with the Union and another war against many of its own citizens. As Zon will show us, these many ripples of discontent would unite to contribute to the Confederacy’s collapse.  He will discusses opposition state by state and demonstrate how this active obstruction and resistance among Southerners played a major role in the Confederacy's downfall.

About Our Speaker:  Calvin Goddard Zon is a third generation Washingtonian.  He holds a B.A. in history from Davidson College and an M.A. from American University.  He was a staff writer for the Washington Star daily newspaper during the 1970s, and in subsequent years a staff writer for Press Associates, Inc. and the United Mine Workers Journal.  Mr. Zon retired as a copy editor for Bloomberg BNA's Daily Labor Report in 2012.   He also served for six years in the U.S. Army Reserve.

Mr. Zon's interest in the Civil War includes membership in the Lincoln-Cushing Camp No. 2 of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and past service as their commander.  He is also a member and treasurer of the D.C. Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States.  Mr. Zon has written articles on the Civil War that have appeared in such varied publications as the Civil War News, the Progressive, the National Catholic Reporter, and People magazine.

Besides his new book, "Divided We Fall: The Confederacy's Collapse From Within, A State-by-State Account," which is the subject of his June 9 presentation, Mr. Zon is the author of “The Good Fight That Didn't End: Henry P. Goddard's Accounts of Civil War and Peace.”  He presented on that work to our Round Table in 2009 and it is based on the writings of Mr. Zon's great-grandfather, a captain in the 14th Connecticut Infantry. The 14th Connecticut fought in every major battle from Antietam to Appomattox.
 
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