Professor Writes Account of Southern Dissidents in the Civil War

Released: 6/25/2007 1:05 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: Elizabethtown College
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Citations A South Divided: Portraits of Dissent in the Confederacy

Newswise — An Elizabethtown College professor has written a book that is a panoramic overview of Southern dissidents in the Civil War.

What emerges in David C. Downing's "A South Divided: Portraits of Dissent in the Confederacy" is a complex pattern of dissent involving every state of the Confederacy and every year of the war. His book is an account of Southern dissidents who at times were labeled as traitors, deserters, or mossbacks during the war, but called "Lincoln's loyalists" by one Northern historian after the war. All of these people and groups had their part to play in the epic drama that sapped the strength of the Confederacy from within, according to Downing. They were rebels again the rebellion.

"A South Divided" recounts dramatic stories from behind the battle lines that have been largely overlooked by most Civil War buffs. Downing tells about Elizabeth Van Lew, a wealthy Richmond belle who ran an extensive spy network in the Confederate capital. He also tells the story of Robert Smalls, a Charleston slave who commandeered a Rebel steamboat, and Daniel Ellis, a Tennessee mountaineer who guided 4000 Unionists through the Cumberland Pass so they could enlist in the federal army.

Downing is the R.W. Schlosser Professor of English at Elizabethtown College and the author of six books, the most recent of which is "Into the Wardrobe: C.S. Lewis and the Narnia Chronicles." He has been an avid student of the Civil War for nearly 20 years and has walked many of the battlefields and led tours of Gettysburg.

Ranked as one of the best colleges in the northern United States by U.S. News and World Report, Elizabethtown offers its 1900 students 53 academic programs in the liberal arts, sciences and professional studies. Driven by its motto to "Educate for Service," Elizabethtown centers learning in strong relationships, links classroom instruction with experiential learning, emphasizes international and cross-cultural perspectives and nurtures the capacity for lives of purpose.


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