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As the popular narrative goes, the Civil War was won when courageous Yankees triumphed over the South. But an aspect of the war that has remained little-known for 160 years is the Alabamian Union soldiers who played a decisive role in the Civil War, only to be scrubbed from the history books. One such group was the First Alabama Calvary, formed in 1862. It went on raids that destroyed Confederate communications and also marched with Sherman’s forces across the South. They aided the fall of Vicksburg and the burning of Atlanta.

Today’s guest is Howell Raines, author of “Silent Cavalry: How Union Soldiers from Alabama Helped Sherman Burn Atlanta—and Then Got Written Out of History.” As Raines has pieced together, Union General William Tecumseh Sherman’s decisive effort to burn Atlanta was facilitated by an unsung regiment of 2,066 yeoman farmers and former slaves from Alabama—including at least one member of Raines’s own family.

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So why have the best-known Civil War historians, including Ken Burns and Shelby Foote, given only passing – or no – attention to this regiment of southerners who chose to fight for the North – a regiment that General Sherman hailed as one of the finest in the Union? We explore this question through an account of Alabama’s Mountain Unionists and their exploits, along with investigating why they and others like them were excised from the historical record.

Cite This Article
"Over 2,000 Soldiers from Alabama Helped Sherman Burn Atlanta. Was Union Support in the South Actually Widespread?" History on the Net
© 2000-2024, Salem Media.
June 12, 2024 <https://www.historyonthenet.com/over-2000-soldiers-from-alabama-helped-sherman-burn-atlanta-was-union-support-in-the-south-actually-widespread>
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